Loving across the southern US racial divide

Loving. Pictured: Ruth Negga as Mildred Loving, Joel Edgerton as Richard Loving. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Universal

Loving. Pictured: Ruth Negga as Mildred Loving, Joel Edgerton as Richard Loving. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Universal

0
Have your say

LOVING (12A)

The human heart refuses to be constrained by objections or obstacles.

Loving is a handsomely crafted drama about two mild-mannered, yet courageous souls from opposite sides of the racial divide in late 1950s Virginia who followed their hearts in strict defiance of the Racial Integrity Act, which criminalised interracial marriages.

The unerring devotion of Richard Loving to his wife Mildred, in the face of fierce opposition from some friends and neighbours, led to a landmark 1967 legal ruling by the US Supreme Court that finally overturned decades of prejudice.

This remarkable courtroom battle against bigotry and bureaucracy provides writer-director Jeff Nichols with a deep emotional core that compels us to root for Richard and Mildred when all hope is lost.

The script draws inspiration from Nancy Buirski’s 2011 documentary The Loving Story and invents peripheral characters for dramatic expediency, without weakening the emotional wallop of the understated final act.

Loving sensitively recreates a battle for justice waged by two quiet people who changed the course of history.

Joel Edgerton is mesmerising as the stoic husband whose only instruction to his legal team is to “tell the judge I love my wife”.

Oscar nominee Ruth Negga is radiant as the emotional rock in the eye of a legal storm.

GOLD (15)

Stephen Gaghan’s drama of corporate greed and misinformation is mined from a true story that sent shockwaves through the US stock market.

A haphazard script melts down outlandish facts and casts them with dramatic flourishes into a rags-to-riches fairytale anchored by a scene-stealing performance from Matthew McConaughey as a rogue gold prospector.

He sports a generous belly, wayward combover and alarmingly crooked teeth, which he sinks gleefully into each preposterous twist, eliciting sympathy as his character ignores dire warnings from a hometown girlfriend to aggressively pursue his American dream.

Gold is a curious alloy of madness and melancholy that struggles to generate dramatic momentum between solid set pieces.