RUTH NEGGA AND JOEL EDGER­TON star in a true story of for­bid­den love

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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,



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