The thing that worries me about the political climate in 2017 is our rights as a nation.  We’ve progressed so much in the past 30, 50, 70, 100 years that taking away the rights of gays, people of religion, and people of color just astonishes me.  This is 2017 and everyone should be equal.  Just because your religion says, “No gays” doesn’t mean that gay people should have zero rights.  Americans talk about how they don’t like Muslims because of Sharia Law….but how truly different are we if we base and center our nation’s laws from religion?

Loving came out in November 2016 and it was a film that I missed in theaters.  It’s not that I didn’t want to see it but a man can only see so many movies in the theaters.  The subject matter truly appealed to me and having Joel Edgerton as the lead is just choice casting.  Edgerton can truly transform himself and become any role.  Whether he’s living on Tatooine as a moisture farmer, a small time criminal in Melbourne, or an G-man chasing down a mobster in Boston it is truly amazing what Edgerton can do with a character.

Loving is the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving – a mixed couple (he’s white, she’s black) who get married in 1958.  Guess what?  In 1958 there was laws prohibiting whites and blacks from marrying each other.  It’s truly amazing that this isn’t too long ago.  Slavery may have been abolished but blacks still had to deal with their own water fountains, their own bathrooms, their own schools, and not being able to marry who they love because of the color of their skin.  It doesn’t matter to Richard (Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) because they are truly in love with each other.  When Mildred tells Richard she’s pregnant, Richard decides to buy some property and proposes to Mildred.

Because Virginia won’t allow them to marry the two venture up to Washington D.C. where they are….slightly less racist?  I’m not sure and don’t get it.  I mean I’m sure I could look up what the laws were like then and where it was or was not legal but I kinda feel that in a film like this where they do such a good job explaining things they could have done a better job actually explaining why Virginia was madly racist but D.C. was lesser racist?

Marton Csokas, so good at being the bad guy and the asshole in flicks like Aeon Flux, XXX, and most Marton Csokas flicks, plays Sheriff Garnett Brooks who may be marginally racist but really just a guy enforcing the law.  The couple are arrested and are forced to move away.  When the couple decides to sneak back into Virginia to try and live they are ratted out and arrested again.  The judge was going to throw them in jail but the Loving’s lawyer actually gets them off one more time.  So the couple moves to Washington D.C. where they raise their children.

The crux of the story comes when Mildred writes a letter to Attorney General Robert Kennedy which brings a lawyer from the ACLU to the Lovings.  It is their persistence and hardwork that brings this case all the way to the Supreme Court where the Lovings marriage is made legal while the law is made unconstitutional (though some states kept the racist law on the book AS RECENTLY AS THE YEAR 2000!!!)

I was expecting a few things in the film. One: I expected Richard or Mildred to spend a good amount of time in jail for just being married.  That really didn’t happen.  Two: I expected them to be sitting there in court defending themselves and why it is okay for the two of them to be married.  That didn’t happen either.  The lawyer makes the court case happen but, as it is portrayed in the film, the Loving family just does their own thing out in the country while the court case is happening.

The film is really focused on Richard and Mildred.  All these events are happening around them but, for the most part, it just continues to show their relationship and how they both got through it.  It’s not a courtroom movie.  It’s a love story.  Once I finished the film and let go of my expectations I was still very happy with the film I saw.  It wasn’t what I expected but was one hell of a story that deserves to be told.  Hell…I’m pretty sure this should be shown in southern states where the Confederate flag still waves proudly.  Shit…it should be shown to Congress and perhaps our president too.

Most surprising about this flick was Nick Kroll as ACLU lawyer Bernie Cohen.  I tried to think back to the last time I saw Kroll in a serious role like this and I was completely stumped.  Kroll is funny…he’s DAMN FUNNY.  But he was really, honestly good playing it mellow and serious.  I like him as an actor but I really think I like him more as a serious actor.

Michael Shannon shows up as well but he’s only in the film briefly.

I guess this brings me to the Academy Awards.  The film was recognized last year throughout the film community.  It was on a number of top 10 lists even taking some top spots.  Negga and Edgerton were recognized for their amazing performances.  Come Oscar time only Negga was nominated.  That was it.  And guess what?  Emma Stone won the Oscar.  Over Negga.  Over Meryl Streep.  Over Isabelle Huppert.  The more I see performances from the leading actresses who were nominated next to Stone the more pissed off I am.  These are some amazing women who had the role of a lifetime and they got beaten by Stone’s  wonder-eyed coffee shop girl.  It’s actually insulting.  And Edgerton joins Hugh Grant as someone who was way overlooked for Best Actor.  No offense Andrew Garfield or Ryan Gosling…but these men should have been nominated over you.  No doubt.

I think a film like Loving is important because some 50+ years later I think Americans take their freedom for granted.  They don’t know (or choose not to care) that our freedoms were not just given to us when the Pilgrims landed here or when we beat the British.  It may be that way for white people but for everyone else who isn’t white those people have to struggle just to be free in the land of the free.  It’s important to know that the Lovings paved the way so that people who love each other can be with each other…no matter what color they are.  Don’t think it is applicable today?  Can gay people get married in every state?  You should go find that out…

RANK: A