Monday, December 19, 2016

LOVING

LOVING was not the best movie I've seen this year, but it was substantially better than I anticipated. Jeff Nichols is a skillful director and he obviously studied his subjects, knew the facts of the case, and directed the actors well.
For those not familiar, LOVING is the tale of Mildred and Richard Loving, a white man and a black woman who married in 1958 and attempted to raise their family in Virginia, a state that did not recognize mixed-race marriages at that time. The country judge sentenced them to living outside of Va for 25 years to avoid a prison term.
The movie concerns the court case that eventually overturned these laws.
The Lovings were quiet, non-confrontational people who wanted to raise their family in rural Virginia, near their families. When this became impossible Mildred wrote a letter to Bobby Kennedy, (then Attorney General) which set this case in motion.
What a perfect title. It is not only their name, but the story of their marriage-neither one turned against the other as is so often the case in  situations this difficult. He respected her need to raise her children in the country; she respected his need to stay out of the limelight. 
I almost always have a problem with films that are telling me a story I can learn from a documentary or by reading a book. But this one was so precise in its story-telling and the actors were so skilled, I have to rate it as one of the better movies of 2016. Joel Edgerton is a fine actor (in very different movies than this one) and Ruth Negga, is almost unrecognizable from the role she played in PREACHER.
What movie telling a true story earned your respect?

16 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

I keep hearing about this one, Patti, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

We just watched Nichols's very different MIDNIGHT SPECIAL on HBO this weekend, with Edgerton, who I knew from ANIMAL KINGDOM, in a significant supporting role. We've also seen his TAKE SHELTER (both star Michael Shannon, who I see is in this one too) and MUD (Matthew McConaughey). We've seen the Lovings' story in the documentary, which I think aired on PBS.

You'd think we've made huge progress in this country in the last 50 years, but it is impossible to wonder how much of that will be thrown out with this election.

How about NORMA RAE? Or SILKWOOD?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Both very good films. I need to watch SILKWOOD again. It's been too long.

Bernadette said...

I had never heard of this couple until the case featured on an episode of the Stuff You Missed In History Class podcast a while back, I am certainly interested enough to see the movie now

I haven't seen it in forever but I remember being transfixed by GANDHI and what it taught me about Indian history. CRY FREEDOM was also a good way into the situation in South Africa back in the day

George said...

I offered my students EXTRA CREDIT to see LOVING. Those students who chose to see LOVING were very moved by it.

Todd Mason said...

That the case was "Virginia v. Loving" has always been too perfect. Probably inspired the tourist slogan.

The fictionalized MISSING, ALL THE RESIDENT'S MEN, IRON-JAWED ANGELS, MEDIUM COOL, SPOTLIGHT.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I just watched MEDIUM COOLagain for the first time in 45 years and enjoyed it again.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I need to see MEDIUM COOL and MISSING again. I watch ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN almost yearly. Got to keep the spirit alive.

Todd Mason said...

And a reminder of when Bob Woodward was actually doing what he should be doing, as opposed to fictionalizing chats with Casey at the Deathbed.

THE BOSTON STRANGLER, better than SON OF SAM or ZODIAC, though even more fictionalized.

MEDIUM COOL historical fiction a little too caught up in the history around it. Famously, "Look out, Haskell, this is Real!" MISSING isn't as smart as Z, but it's close, just as it's pretty close to the book it's based on. THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS might also fit, but if we open it that wide we might be tempted to add PATHS OF GLORY...

Todd Mason said...

...or POTEMKIN...

Todd Mason said...

...but we sure as hell can't go with anything from Oliver Stone. Maybe HEAVEN AND EARTH.

Todd Mason said...

COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER, and I'll stop for now!

Al Tucher said...
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Steve Oerkfitz said...
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Todd Mason said...

Al--particularly that part about how mean old Sissy Spacek's character obstructs her noble husband's pursuit of the Truth. Because chicks are always pulling that kind of stuff, and all...see nearly every other Stone joint.

Al Tucher said...

We have a hacker. I didn't make the comment above.