Loving breaks all the racial problems of 1960s America down to a very simple truth: that a man and a woman should be allowed to marry each other without having to keep a baseball bat by their bed. It uses soft tones and simple language and boasts two incredibly powerful performances from Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, whose real-life interracial couple helped bring down the wall of discrimination that kept so many people apart.
Director Jeff Nichols’ film is touching in all the right ways and portrays the couple as both stubborn and steadfast. But what it lacks, I think, are stakes. Much of the drama comes from Edgerton and Negga, whose problems don’t really amount to a hill of beans. We get the feeling they changed the world not because they wanted to, but because they were simply swept along for the ride. Z
These lack of stakes also ride into my main gripe of the film: it’s incredibly tedious to watch. Your attention for the film peaks from the opening scene but falls steadily from then on and that’s due to the fact that no surprising conflicts occur. I knew how the story would pan out and the presentation of issues never really engaged me emotionally, aside from a few moments here and there. Coupled with notable plot devices that seemed to be blown out of proportion, where simple solutions could have solved them easily, I grew weary of the whole affair.
I’m sure the true story was every bit the touching and inspirational tale Loving wanted it to be but unfortunately this didn’t translate that well on screen.