While ‘Loving’ isn’t exactly a bad film, it isn’t a great one either. It’s simply a film that exists somewhere in the average/good land. It teases moments of greatness but never fully realises it’s potential in this slow-paced, biographical drama about an interracial couple.
The story follows Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga), a real life inter-racial couple living in Virginia. They get married in Washington and begin living together as a married couple in Virginia only to find themselves arrested and later exiled from the state due to their relations being against state law. The case goes all the way up to the Supreme Court where it eventually rewrites the very laws that constitute marriage to change the shape of America. While the story itself isn’t bad, it just felt a tad too long for me and I felt the editing could have been better as the film, to me, outstayed its welcome. This is a 90 minute film drawn out to a little under 2 hours and it sucks the tiny spikes of tension and pace out of this film.
The acting is good from everyone involved, supporting cast and all, but again, there’s nothing that stands out here. There are tiny glimmers of really good character building and inner conflicts from Richard in particular, but nothing substantial enough to say it was great. The film teases bursts of drama including a car following Richard along a road or the threat of being arrested by sneaking back to Virginia after being arrested but nothing really changes in terms of pace that stays at a slow-paced drama-less character build.
While this isn’t necessarily bad, the characters never really change. Richard still has the same far away, conflicted look he had at the start of the film, Mildred still has that innocent hopeful smile she started with and although this obviously changes midway through the film, there isn’t anything that shows them growing and changing as characters by the end. Maybe this is a little unfair as it is based on a true story, I just feel the film could have done with an injection of pace. Possibly showing more of the court case or some more racial tension could have been better as this issue has been portrayed better in other films that overshadows ‘Loving”s themes of racism.
Overall though, ‘Loving’ is a good film. Issues with pacing and a lack of drama aside, the film depicts a fascinating real life story well. There are other films that have done this better and with more tension, but as a romantic biographical film, ‘Loving’ is simply good but not great.