We saw the movie Loving last week and my what a fine piece of filmaking it is! It tells a story that is an important part of history yet it is really not a historical movie. Loving informs us about an epic court battle but it is definitely not a legal drama. It is just a beautiful story about two people who want nothing more than to live their lives…….. work, raise their kids, maintain close ties with family and build a home. They can’t because they are an interracial couple and in the state of Virginia in the late 1950s and early 1960s that means they are breaking the law. Mildred and Richard Loving aren’t social activists. Richard just wants to provide for his family. Mildred just wants to be a good wife and mother. But in their quiet way these two bring about the end to a kind of racial discrimination that had yet to be addressed in their country.
The movie focuses squarely on Richard and Mildred Loving providing an intimate portrait of them as a family. It is understated and lovely. Mildred is the one who takes the initiative to write to Bobby Kennedy, the then attorney general about their difficult situation and he puts Mildred in touch with the American Civil Liberties Union who eventually takes the Loving case all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1967 the court issues a decision that invalidates all state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.
I was so taken with Richard and Mildred Loving that I went on line and watched a bunch of news stories and documentaries about the real couple whose story is told in the film. I realized that Mildred’s decision to write to Bobby Kennedy is a fine example of how even a small action can set things in motion to bring about major social change.
I really liked the character of Richard’s mother in the play, a small town midwife, with a spare no nonsense style. She doesn’t agree with what her son has done in marrying Mildred but that doesn’t stop her from providing unstinting practical support as a mother-in-law and grandmother.
Loving is a great film with characters that will not only move you but inspire you .