Film Review: Loving

Ruth Negga shines in dignified drama about love and race.

In Jeff Nichols’ film, Loving is both a verb and a noun. Joel Edgerton and Oscar-nominated Ruth Negga play Richard and Mildred Loving, the interracial couple at the centre of the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, which ruled miscegenation laws of the time to be unconstitutional. After marrying, the couple were forced to leave Virginia and move to Washington, threatened with prison if they ever returned.

Far from a fist-pounding, message-spewing courtroom drama, Loving is an intimate portrait of two very ordinary people, notable not for their passionate political zeal, but rather their quiet humility.The two actors put in beautifully nuanced performances for characters who, by nature, say very little.

Edgerton taps into a specific expression of rural masculinity that’s strong, but also so humble that he’ll never meet anyone’s eye. Meanwhile, Negga is beautiful in her unexpressed heartbreak, a quietly joyful woman who loses herself when torn from her family and friends. Mildred’s love is expressed through acts of kindness, and a shy but radiant smile – a smile that disappears when the couple move to dismally grey Washington.

Mildred’s loneliness and sadness at the injustice of the couple’s exile are palpable, and makes their decision to sneak back to the idyllically golden Virginia and eventually pursue legal help feel not just understandable, but necessary. In the midst of all the rage and discord, the quiet intimacy that Nichols brings to a potentially melodramatic and flashily Oscar-baiting film is extraordinary.

However, after a slow two hours, the overly polite restraint feels naïve – or at least, premature. In this cultural and political landscape, Nichols’ confidence that there’s no need to get visibly angry at racism, or to give the audience some emotional catharsis, feels misguided. Here’s hoping the world improves so his idealism is rewarded.


Related Articles

Ruth Negga to be honoured at Oscar Wilde Awards

Read More

The 2017 Oscar Nominees Are...

Read More

Moment of Ruth - The Rise and Rise of Ruth Negga

Having captivated America with her co-starring role in Loving, Limerick actress Ruth Negga is among the bookies' favourite to win a Best Actress Oscar in February. Stuart Clark charts her dramatic rise.

Read More

Ruth Negga nominated for BAFTA Rising Star award

Read More

Ruth Negga wins Rising Star Award at Palm Spring International Film Festival

The Irish actress, who has achieved international acclaim for her role in Loving, picked up the award at the ceremony last night.

Read More

Irish actress Ruth Negga appears on cover of Vogue

The actress celebrated her Irish heritage with a few pints of Guinness and some of her favourite bad jokes, watch the video here.

Read More

WATCH: Ruth Negga stars in civil rights drama, Loving

The Jeff Nichols film goes on general release in November

Read More

Preacher Has Been Renewed for a Second Season

The AMC show broke all expectations in Season One and luckily for us, it will be back for some more!

Read More

Ruth Negga Will Deliver Acting Masterclass at Galway Film Fleadh 2016

As an Oscar buzz circulates her, Ruth Negga is staying true to her roots as ever.

Read More

Oscar buzz builds over Love/Hate's Ruth Negga

The Dublin actress has received critical acclaim for her performance in new American film Loving.

Read More

WATCH: Ruth Negga in New Preacher Promo

If one thing is for sure, Ruth Negga certainly knows how to pack a punch.

Read More

Ruth Negga Preaching Violence in US TV Series

In her new series Preacher, Ruth Negga holds no mercy.

Read More

WATCH: Ruth Negga stars in first Preacher trailer

The Irish vampire yarn hits US screens in 2016!

Read More

Love/Hate's Ruth Negga cast in Preacher

The new TV series based on the cult comic.

Read More

Advertise With Us

For information including benefits, key facts, figures and rates for advertising with Hot Press, click below


Find us elsewhere