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The first sterile and gentle film about the civil rights movement. LOVING tells the story of Mildred and Richard Loving and the Loving vs the State of Virginia case which ended the ban on so-called “mixed marriages.”


A more quiet, gentle film on the civil rights movement has never existed. Jeff Nichols LOVING tells the story of Mildred and Richard Loving and the Loving vs the State of Virginia case which ended the ban on so-called “mixed marriages” in all of the US. LOVING also showcases a concept of love that is usually very foreign in cinema. There are no big, dramatic scenes between Ruth and Richard, no melodramatic declarations of love. Nichols doesn’t even show how the two meet. Instead, he shows the familiarity and steadfastness of what is actually an uncomplicated relationship between two introverted people. The dramatic plot is ascribed the Lovings from the outside.

Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) marry on July 1958 in Washington DC but live in Central Point, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, a riot squad breaks into their house, enters their bedroom, and asks who Richard is sleeping with. He points to the marriage license on the wall. Both of them are arrested because their marriage is illegal in Virginia. The Lovings are advised to plead guilty to avoid prison and so they are sentenced to a year in prison due to their violation of the “race integration law,” but they receive 25 years on probation instead as long as they agree to leave Virginia and never enter it again. Richard and Mildred have no other choice but to leave their rural environment, friends, and family. They move in with Mildred’s cousin Alex in Washington DC in a very small apartment. Mildred writes a letter to Robert Kennedy four years later and so begins the very long process that lifts the ban on mixed marriage, a remnant of the days of slavery.

Jeff Nicholes film is wonderfully subtle. Not much is vocalized; it is rather the looks, bodies, faces, landscapes, rooms, and light that tell the story. It was clear as day that Ruth Negga would be nominated for an Oscar for Mildred Loving, but the academy won’t be able to explain why Negga was nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category and not Best Actress. Her looks carry the film, just like Joel Edgerton’s shoulders seem to carry the entire world. Nichols biggest strength is that he doesn’t make a legal drama out of it, instead he concentrates on their relationship, their intimacy, their calm heroism, their obvious love for one another without any grandstanding. Richard Loving only explodes once when he has to watch on as white policemen abuse his wife, but his violence is as futile as it is appropriate.


Translation: Elinor Lewy


USA/Großbritannien 2016, 123 min
Genre: Drama, Biography
Director: Jeff Nichols
Author: Jeff Nichols
DOP: Adam Stone
Montage: Julie Monroe
Music: David Wingo
Distributor: Universal Pictures International Germany
Cast: Ruth Negga, Michael Shannon, Marton Csokas, Joel Edgerton, Nick Kroll
FSK: 6
Release: 15.06.2017




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles
English/with English subtitles
All languages

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