Director: Jeff Nichols
Talent: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton, Alano Miller
Released: 3rd February
In his fifth film, Jeff Nichols tells the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving (Edgerton and Negga), the plaintiffs in the 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving vs Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. It is a big subject, and a different director would’ve likely delivered a rather more bombastic film, but Nichols knows better, and produces instead a work of quiet dignity very much in keeping with the reserved, unassuming protagonists.
In this he is consummately aided by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, whose performances feel lived-in, tactile and, most importantly, completely divorced from hindsight. Most of the legal proceedings are kept off-screen and there are no speeches or indeed histrionic displays of any kind. Here we simply have the business of human beings going about their lives as best they can, and if the narrative is less than propulsive, then it is only a small price to pay for an authenticity seldom found in your typical historical film. Powerful, compelling stuff.
Words – Felipe Deakin