Loving Movie Review
An important legal decision does not a good movie make. Loving tells the backstory for the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia, which established that people of mixed race could marry. Unfortunately, the backstory is so bland, the Loving couple even blander, that the only fascinating part about the movie is that anyone decided it would make a good movie in the first place.
Listen: Loving looks fine. The acting is good, as long as you count mumbling ten lines of dialogue in two hours good acting. The movie is well written, from a grammatical perspective. But writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter) seems to have given his cast and crew a singular directive: make it clear that people remember Richard and Mildred Loving as the least interesting couple ever put to film.
Joel Edgerton plays Richard Loving; the talented actor is nearly unrecognizable as an albino blonde who barely speaks, and when he does, has very little substantial to say. The most profound thing he has to say is, after declining to attend his own Supreme Court trial--because, you know, attending a Supreme Court trial would actually be interesting--is, “Tell the judge I love my wife.”
It’s hard to understand why Edgerton would be drawn to the role, though Nichols is a talented filmmaker and the story, at least on paper, is marquee Oscar bait.
Nichols has always been a director who prefers the understated--often to a fault--but Loving takes understated to a whole new level. The movie isn’t without its merits, but unless you enjoy watching boring people do boring things, there’s very little to love here.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.