The slow pace of the film, Loving, symbolizes the long days that exist when living in the South and the lack of speed that it took for this interracial couple to get a fair ruling in the courts. Richard and Mildred Loving were a married couple that lived in Virginia. He was white and she was African-American and Cherokee.
In 1958, the authorities broke into their home and arrested both of them for breaking the law which did not allow mixed couples to marry. They had driven to Washington D.C. to get married. The Virginia courts told them that they had to either serve a year in prison or leave the state for 25 years.
They moved to a poor part of Washington D.C. and had three children while they lived with another family. Mildred Loving missed being around her own family and at one point she sat down and wrote Attorney General Robert Kennedy. He replied and referred her case to the ACLU. Lawyer Cohen was assigned and later teamed up with Lawyer Hirschkop, a civil rights lawyer. Then, the long process for justice began.
After one of their sons was hit by a car, the Lovings secretly moved back to Virginia, but rented a farm in a different county. She wanted enough land where the children could run freely and not have to play ball in the streets.
The two lawyers worked on the case for almost ten years and it eventually made it to the Supreme Court. Life Magazine also interviewed the couple and helped expose the outdated laws through photography. He took a famous photo of Mr. Loving resting in his wife’s lap as they watched television.
In 1967, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case. The lawyers invited the Lovings to come to DC to be present at the hearings. Mr. Loving said no and she said that she was not going without him. He was asked what he wanted to say to the justices and he simply said, “Tell them that I love my wife.”
They won and it became legal for interracial couples to marry in the State of Virginia. Other states followed suit. The charm, the love and the camaraderie of Richard and Mildred was compelling. Only the gods could have given them such an appropriate last name. Through it all, they remained solid, of one mind and quite loving to one another.
The actors were also quite convincing in their roles. Interestingly, Mr. Loving was played by Joel Edgerton from Australia and Mrs. Loving was played by Ruth Negga from Ethiopia. After comparing them to what was read and seen about the real Lovings on YouTube, these two fine actors got it right. It took two artists from other countries to show a bleak chapter in American history that happened not that long ago!
Lynn M. November 17, 2016