RUTH NEGGA AND JOEL EDGERTON star in a true story of forbidden love
REAL-LIFE DRAMA Sunday, Sky Premiere HD, 10am & 5.50pm
THE PEOPLE WHO change society aren’t always the ones with the loudest voices or the most assertive personalities. Sometimes just being yourself is what it takes to make history. That is the case with the Lovings, the real-life couple played by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in this quietly stirring drama.
Living in the segregated South, the white Richard and black Mildred fall foul of their native Virginia’s racist anti-miscegenation laws when they marry in 1958. Having been arrested, the couple are forced into exile from their home state to Washington DC.
The Lovings want nothing more than to be left in peace to get on with their lives, but when homesickness gets the better of them, they reluctantly embark on a legal battle that goes all the way to the Supreme Court and a landmark civil rights victory in 1967 that saw a federal ban on antimiscegenation laws in the US.
Watching the Lovings’ story unfold, it is impossible not to feel indignation on their behalf. However, writer-director
Jeff Nichols isn’t interested in stoking our moral outrage.
He doesn’t go in for melodramatic stand-offs or rousing speeches, favouring a tone of quiet restraint instead.
Edgerton and Negga’s underplayed performances suit this approach perfectly, their reticence contrasted with more vivid turns by comedian Nick Kroll as the Lovings’ lawyer and Michael Shannon as the Life magazine photographer who helps publicise their plight. The film is possibly a little too low-key, but its tender understatement honours its subjects’ diffident reserve and courage. 2016, 12,
RUTH AND JOEL
WERE PREPARED TO FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHTS