Loving: Praised for Historical Accuracy and Depiction of Racial Tensions

Topics: Justification

Jeff Nichols’ 2016 movie Loving achieves praise from several critics for a historically accurate depiction of racial tensions in the 1960s. Critics concur that Nichols focuses on the adversity Richard and Mildred Loving had to face to legally be married in their home state of Virginia. Plugged In emphasizes the religious justification used in the film by the sheriff. Variety had mostly positive things to say about Loving but criticizes the film’s sensitivity. The Guardian wrote that Ruth Negga is the “beating heart of this film” (Bradshaw).

Roger Ebert claims that the movie is not just essential to the 1960s, but the 2010s as well. Ready Reviews thought Nichols could have done a better job with the montage of the kids growing up but the parents still looking “youthful” (Jones).

Plugged In reviews a few key elements in the film Loving, including spiritual content and the use of racial profanity during the film. The author includes how religious justification was shown during the movie when the sheriff was talking to Richard Loving.

The sheriff says that African Americans are “different for a reason,” and that interracial marriage is invalid under “God’s Law”. Nichols demonstrates the racist element of the sheriff’s ideology by having the sheriff use racially profane language in the scenes where he speaks with Richard. Realizing this ideology still exists in today’s world baffles me. I find religious justification for racism utterly disgusting. The critic’s overall message to the audience is that the film shows a beautiful story of love but not only that, the legal sanctification of love.

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Variety’s aspect of the film is not about the actual production, but the historical accuracy that the film portrays. I believe Nichols did a great job of making the movie more ahavebout the adversity that the Lovings faced, rather than just a love story. Although the author praises the film for its story and inclusion of historical accuracy, he also criticizes the film. Variety says that “this patiently paced, mild-mannered movie unfolds within an extremely narrow emotional range” (Debruge). I too, felt this way about the movie while viewing it. The film seems to lack the probable tension that the Lovings faced in their marriage. Wow? That seems like a pretty key element to leave out of the film. Though the film lacks this, it covers everything else fairly well. I, as well as Peter Debruge from Variety, can agree on this.

Other critics believe Ruth Negga is, “the beating heart of this film” (Bradshaw). Peter Bradshaw has been The Guardian’s chief film critic since 1999. Bradshaw overall believes that Ruth Negga perfectly portrays her role in the film as Mildred Loving. I couldn’t agree more with him. Bradshaw says, “Edgerton gives his best of Richard but Negga intuits more fully her character” (Bradshaw). The critic goes as far as saying that Ruth Negga should win the Oscars Academy Award for best actress. Personally, Emma Stone in La La Land was phenomenal. Maybe without all the competition for that award, Ruth Negga would have had a chance. Brian Tallerico from RogerEbert also agrees that Ruth Negga, “made the film” (Tallerico), but also interprets the film in today’s society.

Tallerico begins his review of Loving by saying that it is, “one of those mainstream films that provoke frustration and rage without resorting to monologues or melodrama” (Tallerico). I as well felt frustrated and outraged while watching the film, Tallerico couldn’t have said it better. The fact that African-Americans were treated so poorly is enough to disturb me. This leads to the critic’s second point of how this film is still relevant today. While concluding his review of the film, Tallerico writes a powerful message that appealed to me greatly. He states, “Why do films set a half-century ago feel like history lessons while others feel essential to not just the 60’s but the 10’s?” (Tallerico). I can agree with the critic saying that this is what the film portrayed best. For example, the film’s use of racist police officers could relate to the recent spike in police brutality towards black people. The deeper outlook that Brian Tallerico provided in his interpretation, gave the film… Power. Randy Jones from Rendy Reviews agrees with Tallerico’s review as being relevant today as well in the past.

Ready Reviews observes the film techniques that Nichols uses in Loving. Jones looks at all aspects of the film and gives his opinions on film techniques, and how well social injustice is interpreted in the film. The main issue Jones had with the film was the montage of the Lovings and their children. The montage is approximately 5 years or so and covers their family while they’re living in Washington D.C. While the montage shows the Loving children growing up, it fails to show aging in Richard and Mildred. Jones recommends that the Lovings could of, “used makeup, put bags under their eyes or something” (Jones). This troubled me while viewing the film and Jones does a fantastic job explaining the film’s lack of “CONSISTENCY!” (Jones).

While concluding his article, Jones says that Loving is “a truly powerful and moving story that is quiet with dialogue yet effectively loud with its message that still goes on to this day” (Jones). Most critics would simply skip over the historical part of the review and focus on the overall story, Jones does not. The idea that this film is just as relevant today is the lesson I obtained from the movie.

While all of these articles offer their unique takeaways from the movie, I feel as if they missed one of the key takeaways I got from the movie.

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Loving: Praised for Historical Accuracy and Depiction of Racial Tensions. (2022, Jun 24). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/love-is-love/

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