By Ian Crow
As February rolls around, the Oscar bait films are still being released. It’s a weird month full of absolute tosh and last-minute push for people to see the award nominated films. Loving is one of those, only nominated for the one Oscar for leading actress Ruth Negga. Whereas Joel Edgerton missed out on a Golden Globe for leading actor back in January. Loving is based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple living together who eventually get married in the state of Virginia are then challenged and arrested on numerous occasions due to the ‘unlawful’ act of a black and white person being married. Having to fight all the way to the US Supreme court to allow their marriage to be, both Mildred and Richard go through testing times as a married couple.
As I mentioned before, Ruth Negga has received an Oscar nomination for her leading role in Loving. As much as I think she is a talented actress, she is also still fresh coming to the scene. It’s great that the Academy has recognised such a young talent, but I don’t think her performance is strong enough to warrant an Academy Award nomination. Personally there isn’t one standout moment or performance from Negga that really captivated me in any way shape or form. She almost comes across wooden at times. Barring that, I do think she has a bright future ahead of her and 100%, a better performance than that in this film. Normally a huge fan of Joel Edgerton, he seems to take the foot of the pedal in Loving. His connection to characters and portrayal of emotions is top class at times especially in films like The Gift and Warrior; he just seems to give a sub-par performance in Loving. Again, he’s done so many more roles where he’s better than he is in this movie.
I’m also a big fan of director Jeff Nichols, directing some of my favourite films of the past few years including Take Shelter and Mud; he has gone down a different route with Loving. It seems as though he left all the tension and drama he is normally so great at building at home. I think he may have been let down by his leading actors, they just don’t give a big enough performance for me to warrant this being one of his best films. I have to be honest and say it’s his worst to date. I think Nichols is best sticking with films like Mud and Take Shelter, films with a great story and a backbone of great characters running through the film.
Loving is an incredible story and the fight that the couple had to protect their marriage and their rights is remarkable. I love the fact that not once does the couple give up over what was a few years to try to settle the issues with the courts. The average performances though from the leading actors really let the film down for me; they didn’t inject enough emotion or power to really get me gripped. I also think that the supporting roles were very poor. I do almost feel sorry for Edgerton and Negga as they are also let down by their supporting members. Not one of them is memorable or good in any way. Loving is unfortunately just a very average film that just doesn’t take off in any shape or form. 3 out of 5 stars.
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