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Film / Loving (2016)
aka: Loving

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"I'm pregnant."

Loving is a 2016 film written and directed by Jeff Nichols. It tells the Real Life story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who were persecuted after marrying in Virginia, a state which prohibited interracial marriages. Their case, Loving v. Virginia, went up all the way to the Supreme Court and eventually led to the overturning of all anti-miscegenation laws in the US.

The film was critically acclaimed and stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga.

This film provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: In one scene, Raymond comes wildly speeding down the Lovings’ driveway as if he has urgent news to deliver. It turns out Raymond just always drives that way.
  • Based on a True Story: Specifically, the story behind Loving vs. Virginia, which defined marriage as an inherent right.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Richard and Mildred are seconds away from being sent to jail over their interracial marriage when their lawyer arrives and claims that they only violated their probation because a clerical error made them think they had permission to come home. This is hinted to be a lie, but the judge believes it and lets them go.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: The film, which is based on the events leading up to the ''Loving V. Virginia'' trial, shows the hardship that Mr. and Mrs. Loving had to endure while being married during a time when interracial marriage was illegal in numerous U.S. states.
  • Bookends: Shortly after the movie begins, Richard takes Mildred to a plot of land where he intends to build a house for them. At the film's conclusion, he is seen beginning to work on it.
  • Category Traitor: The white authorities clearly see Richard as this for marrying outside the race, to the point where one repeatedly calls him "boy", a slur frequently used against African-American men. In fact, the entire white community who he's from are deemed this, as they live and work with black people amicably (i.e. rejecting the racist social mores demanded).
  • The City vs. the Country: The country mice Lovings move to Washington, D.C. after they're banned from Virginia for 25 years by a local judge, but they never adapt to city life. The way the two locations are shot definitely supports their point of view.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Notably averted by Edgerton, whose teeth are quite yellow in the film.
  • The Exile: Effectively this happens to the Lovings: they're made to leave Virginia as a condition of their parole.
  • Facial Dialogue: Since our lead characters are pretty laconic, there's a lot of this.
  • Family Man: Richard Loving. He's so determined to be a husband and father that he breaks the law to do it.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Since there are no anti-miscegenation laws in the U.S. any more, even a viewer unfamiliar with the legal history knows how it turns out. The filmmakers assume this, as they focus very little on the actual case and more on the Lovings' personal experiences.
  • Happily Married: Against all odds, they are indeed.
  • Housewife: Mildred, naturally. This is The '50s.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Subverted. While nothing happens, Richard is clearly worried about Mildred's health and safety while in prison, given her condition.
  • In Medias Res: The film starts with Mildred telling Richard that she's pregnant, eliminating any depiction of their lives and relationship up until that point.
  • Jerkass: The sheriff. He won't release Mildred to Richard on bail, even though she's pregnant.
  • Lap Pillow: When a photographer from Life magazine visits the Lovings, he snaps a picture of them watching TV with Richard's head in Mildred's lap. At the end, we get to see the actual photo.
  • Look Both Ways: One of the Lovings' children is hit by a car after running recklessly into the street.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: The film depicted the misery that both Richard and Mildred received as an interracial couple in The '60s, which their legal status was challenged because of it. In this case, it's the government that is unaccepting of Rich and Mildred's marriage. Some of their neighbors aren't happy either, as one of them ratted them out to the police.
  • Manly Tears: The normally stoic Richard breaks down at one point, promising Mildred that he can take care of her.
  • Meaningful Name: Their surname (which was their name in real life) is remarkably apt for a case about the right to marry the person you love.
  • The Mourning After: The film's epilogue tells us that Richard was killed in a car crash in 1975. Mildred never remarried and lived in the home Richard had built for her until her own death in 2008.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Richard tells the lawyer to tell the judge, "I love my wife." and the lawyer's arguments are played over scenes of the couple going about their daily domestic routine, thus giving the landmark case an achingly beautiful simplicity.
  • Newhart Phone Call: When lawyer Bernard Cohen calls Mildred to tell her they've won the case, we only hear her side of the conversation.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Michael Shannon plays the South African Grey Villet with his natural Kentucky accent, apparently because Jeff Nichols thought asking Shannon to do a South African accent for such a small role would be too distracting.
  • The Quiet One: Richard doesn't talk much, leading Mildred to do most of the talking to their lawyers.
  • Scary Black Man: While Mildred is in jail, a creepy-looking black guy gets put into the cell next to hers, after the cop sarcastically says he should have put him in her cell for the night.
  • Shotgun Wedding: Subverted — Richard's proposal to Mildred does seem to be sped up by her pregnancy, but the taboo against interracial marriages turns out to be stronger than that against unwed pregnancy.
  • There's No Place Like Home: The Lovings aren't really that socially conscious; what brings them into the courts is their determination to be able to live where they grew up.
  • Think of the Children!: This is the defense that the state of Virginia offers for its laws — that it's cruel to bring interracial children into the world because they won't really know who they are.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: We're told at the end what became of the Lovings. Sadly, Richard died seven years later in a car crash.
  • The Whitest Black Guy: Inverted in Richard's case. One of his black friends remarks that he's spent his life hanging around black people, and is experiencing some of their persecution, but ultimately he's still white.
  • Window Pain: Richard discovers that somebody at his workplace tossed a brick with a page from the Life feature wrapped around it into his car.

Alternative Title(s): Loving