Loving: Oscar Nominee?

Loving, the latest film by Jeff Nicholls is set for release in November this year.  It is an Anglo-American production and tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who were the plaintiffs of the case Loving v. Virginia, in which they were charged for having had an interracial marriage. 

In reality this case was a factor in the Supreme Courts’ ultimate decision to completely legalise interracial marriage, as they deemed its illegality unconstitutional.  Jeff Nicholls is a relatively young director, 37, but is currently quite widely regarded.  In recent years his film Mud, which he also wrote and directed, received wide critical acclaim as did Midnight Special which was released in March this year and displayed his ability to create films in a variety of genres.  Joel Edgerton, who will star as Richard Loving, also appears in Midnight Special and was received  well, Loving is the next in a string of good decisions Edgerton seems to be making following The Great Gatsby were he finally made the leap into ‘proper’ movies as opposed to Hollywood’s atypical action blockbusters.  It will be interesting to see how he fares in this somewhat more Oscar hungry film.  Ruth Negga also stars as Mildred, probably more well known for her TV performances – in Misfits, Criminal Justice and currently Preacher.  Negga is known for playing hard-as-steel female characters, in a variety of settings and genres, so she should be a sure fire success in this film.

 One difficulty about history on screen is the audience.  Will they be entertained?  Will they believe what they see? 

But how much of this movie will be accurate?  Naturally, only time will tell.  In 1996 the film Mr and Mrs Loving received mixed acclaim and a damning review from Midlred Loving herself: “Not much of it was true, only that I had 3 children.”  This poor effort was followed by a documentary by Nancy Cruick entitled The Loving Story which was much better received, winning a Peabody reward.  Jeff Nicholls has apparently based his script on this documentary so we can only hope for the best.

Mildred and Richard Loving, their smiles hide the draining, protracted process of defending their love to the state and the nation.

One difficulty about history on screen is the audience.  Will they be entertained?  Will they believe what they see?  Is it possible to be too real?  Often biopic writers or directors seem to become scared of how boring real life may be.  And really this is to be expected considering how the aim of the cinema is to make money, but Nicholls is firm in his position as a storyteller and artist.  We can only hope that Loving is as truthful and successful as its previews at Cannes predict it to be.

By Delilah Niel

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