Kim & Kanye, Bowie & Iman, Eva Mendez & Ryan Gossling. What do they all have in common? Your first guess might be that they are all celebrity couples. But were this the 1950’s in the segregated South, your first thought would most likely be shock and that they were all breaking the law. In fact, they could all be legally jailed. Jeff Nichols Loving, tells the powerful, true-life story of Mildred and Richard Loving, the interracial Virginia couple whose marriage led to the landmark Supreme Court ruling which struck down anti-miscegenation laws and opened the door for marriage equality across the country. They in fact, changed the way we could love.
The film, which debuted in Cannes to rave reviews and was nominated for a Palme D’or, stars Joel Edgerton (Star Wars Episode II, Black Mass, The Great Gatsby) and Ruth Negga (Tulip on AMC’s hit Preacher, World War Z). The film is already receiving Oscar buzz given the stand- out and moving performances by both actors.
The Lovings met during high school and quietly fell in love despite of social mores and stigmas. They crossed state lines to wed in Washington, DC where interracial marriage was legal but upon returning home to Virginia, the couple were jailed (while Mildred was pregnant with their first child). Their marriage license, proudly displayed on their bedroom wall, had no bearing. They were given suspended sentences only if they were to leave the state of Virginia for 25 years. The couple moved to Washington, DC where they had 3 children and would cross state lines back and forth to Virginia to visit friends and family separately.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
By 1963, five years after moving to DC and having been arrested for traveling together in Virginia, the Lovings had had enough. The Civil Rights movement was gaining momentum. Mildred decided to write Attorney General Robert Kennedy for help. Kennedy responded, referring the Lovings to the to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which took on the couple’s case.
LET’S DO THIS
The ACLU lawyers tried unsuccessfully to have the original ruling reversed by the judge who oversaw the conviction. “Almighty God created the races, white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents,” presiding Judge Leon M. Bazile wrote in January 1965. “And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
The case then went to the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. They upheld the original ruling taking the case Loving v. Virginia to the United States Supreme Court, where on June 12, 1967, the high court agreed unanimously in favor of the Lovings. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote, “directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment” and deprives all citizens “liberty without due process of law.” Perhaps Richard Loving breaks it down best when he says, “Tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.” It’s one of the most moving lines in the film (look out for it in the trailer).
LOVING PREMIERE — SHARE THE LOVE!
Jeff Nichols Loving premieres in the U.S on November 4th. It’s a story of true love, determination, and perseverance with a stand out cast and beautiful art direction. All love is created equal.
— Loving (@lovingthefilm) October 6, 2016