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A friend of mine -- who by his own admission has bawled during all of Nichols' previous films -- saw this film at Cannes today and was disappointed, though he said it was good if you grade it on a Birth of a Nation curve. (That's a reference to the 2016 film, which he hated, and not to the 1915 film.)

Amusingly, when I woke up this morning and checked my Twitter notifications, I saw a comment of his to the effect that the film "grandstands"... and then, just a few tweets down (i.e. earlier), I saw a completely different critic praise the film for not doing any "grandstanding". So, apparently something in the film prompts people to use the word "grandstanding" -- either to complain that the film does it or to assure the reader that the film *doesn't* do it.

Mike D'Angelo gave the film 45 (out of 100, right?) and tweeted something to the effect that the film keeps trying to sell you on how nice the main characters are two hours after the movie has started. I vaguely recall another critic commenting that the film does justice to history, but to drama...?

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Since absolutely no one thinks either of this year's candidates is going to bring back a ban on interracial marriage, it seems that this ad is letting us know that the real message or subtext of this film has something to do with something *other* than race relations.

 

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From a press release:

- - -

Richard and Mildred Loving showed us that love is stronger than hate and has the power to spark real change. Inspired by their story, we are debuting emojis that represent many forms of love, including same-sex and interracial. In addition, during election season, we're encouraging everyone to show that simply conveying love can change the world one state at a time. LOVING, a Focus Features release, opens in select cities November 4 and expands across the country later in November.

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On 9/26/2016 at 10:35 PM, Peter T Chattaway said:

Since absolutely no one thinks either of this year's candidates is going to bring back a ban on interracial marriage, it seems that this ad is letting us know that the real message or subtext of this film has something to do with something *other* than race relations.

 

Considering Mildred Loving herself made the connection and came out in support of gay marriage in 2007, I don't think its that much a leap

Edited by Justin Hanvey

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Jeff Nichols’s “Loving”: An Airbrushed Portrait of the Interracial Couple Whose Struggle Changed History
Each movie stands on its own, but outside knowledge pertains as well—moviegoing isn’t a trial in which viewers can simply disregard whatever else they know or happen to have seen. Early this year, when I heard about the anticipated release of “Loving”—Jeff Nichols’s dramatization of the lives and struggles of Richard and Mildred Loving, whose challenge to Virginia’s anti-miscegenation laws led to the Supreme Court’s legalization of interracial marriage throughout the country, in 1967—I slaked my curiosity and got hold of a precursor, Richard Friedenberg’s “Mr. and Mrs. Loving,” a dramatization of the same story, made for Showtime in 1996. I’m glad I did, but I wish I hadn’t; the earlier film, though directed with a workmanlike plainness, is written with an exploratory vigor and acted (by Timothy Hutton and Lela Rochon) with a spectrum of emotion and a spark of spontaneity that eludes the similarly accomplished stars of “Loving,” Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga.
Rule of thumb: when there’s a problem with acting, it’s a problem with directing. Seeing “Mr. and Mrs. Loving” first didn’t, I think, change my experience of “Loving”; rather, it helped to provide specific examples of the possibilities that felt absent from or unrealized in Nichols’s film—and, in the process, that modest, brisk, and even brusque and rushed earlier film offers an over-all counterexample to the cinema of the art-house consensus, to the decisions and tastes that converge in many of the so-called prestige films of year-end releases and awards discussions. . . .
“Mr. and Mrs. Loving” has two things, two centrally human things, that the rarefied symbolic protagonists of “Loving” don’t: sex and humor. . . .
Of course, writing to Bobby Kennedy is exactly what Mildred Loving did; he passed the letter along to the American Civil Liberties Union, where a lawyer named Bernard Cohen took their case and ultimately won it in the Supreme Court. It’s at this point in the film that “Loving” shines. Nichols places much more emphasis on the creation of a case; he dramatizes the involvement of a second civil-rights lawyer, and, above all, he captures something that Friedenberg, in his rushed and superficial resolution, doesn’t—the importance of creating a public image in making history, and the turmoil in the lives of private and ordinary people, such as the Lovings, when the media come calling to make them celebrities. Unlike “Mr. and Mrs. Loving,” “Loving” is a film with one big and good idea, and this is it. . . .
Nichols has an eye for texture and a dramatic sense of scenes unfolding in detail that Friedenberg can’t approach. “Loving” is a much finer film; but in its refinement, it misses the coarser grain of life that makes the difference between an airbrushed portrait and cinematic vitality. Nichols makes the Lovings not merely heroes but saints; he doesn’t create mysteries but blanks. Friedenberg, for all his directorial bluntness, made a film about complex people whose human impulses and desires and passions make them of interest in and of themselves.
Richard Brody, The New Yorker, November 4

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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