On return from New Zealand, I was pleased to find Loving as an option on the plane. Given all the other options, I missed this one but was concerned that it would be another “we lawyers save the world and aren’t we great” story. Thankfully, I was spared. For the uninitiated, Loving is a true story about a white male (Joel Edgerton) and a black female (Ruth Negga) who were arrested being married and living in Virginia. Both were convicted of felonies and ordered to divorce or leave Virginia for 25 years. Or, they could spend one year in jail. Not much in the way of choices.
In parts the movie is slow, deliberately slow in my opinion, to show the agony of not being able to return home and be with family. And, when they did return home, to show the paranoia and fear of being arrested and torn from each other and their three children. Finally, the movie gives a taste of the torment families go through as the justice system slowly reaches finality. The movie further hints that, at times, others will use the litigants for their own purposes rather than the best interest of the client. For example, the ACLU attorney suggested the Lovings get themselves arrested so he could get the case into court faster even though they might not be able to make bail. Reporters wanted their story even though it might cause them to be found and arrested in Virginia.
While it is to the credit of the ACLU and the Supreme Court that these laws were stricken, this is not a courtroom story. Rather, it is a love story of two poor, ordinary folks who endured lots of pain and anguish when they really wanted to be left alone. It is a poignant moment when Mr. Loving is asked what he would like to say to the Supreme Court, he responds “Tell them I love my wife.”
This is not an action movie; this is not a courtroom thriller nor a whodunnit. But, in the end, it is a satisfying movie and most of you will like it.
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