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Jeff Nichols
Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon
Writing Credits:
Jeff Nichols

The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 123 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 2/7/2017

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Jeff Nichols
• “Making Loving” Featurette
• “A Loving Ensemble” Featurette
• “Loving v. Virginia” Featurette
• “Virginia: A Loving Backdrop” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Loving [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 5, 2017)

For a tale of civil rights circa the 1950s and 1960s, we head to 2016’s Loving. Set in rural Virginia, Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) falls in love with Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) and they decide to marry.

The complication? Richard is white while Mildred is black, and interracial marriage remains illegal in Virginia. Because of this, Richard and Mildred wed in Washington DC.

This doesn’t help them back home, as local law enforcement arrests the Lovings. Authorities claim their DC marriage license isn’t valid in Virginia, so Richard and Mildred fight for their legal rights all the way to the Supreme Court.

I was born in 1967, the year the Supreme Court heard Loving v. Virginia, so I can’t claim to remember a United States in which interracial marriage wasn’t legal. Oh, I can recall when the subject seemed taboo – even “progressive” programs like The Jeffersons laughed about it – but actually against the law? Not in my memory.

As such, Loving provides a good reminder of how backwards laws could be in the not-that-distant past – and how hard people needed to work to obtain basic civil rights. Not that this struggle has ended, as the battle for gay marriage showed, but it’s still an interesting lesson.

Does that make Loving an involving movie? Meh – as much as I respected the tale that the film told, the end result tended to be slow and without a lot of drama.

Which seems surprising given the nature of the material on display. Obviously Loving relates an important series of events, and that would imply that it boasts a lot to stimulate the viewer.

On one hand, I appreciate the movie’s lack of overt theatrics. I usually prefer films that aim for an understated point of view, so I should like the way Loving tells its tale.

Unfortunately, in this case, “understated” leans toward “sluggish”. Loving may tell an important story, but it doesn’t make it one that progresses at a particularly positive pace.

This means the movie takes a long time to reach events of much significance. On the surface, its focus on Richard and Mildred sounds like a good idea – and it would be if the film investigated and developed them with much depth.

Instead, we don’t feel like we ever really get to know our leads. We see Mildred as the reluctant instigator with Richard as the more passive party. That’s about it – we don’t sense what draws them together or what makes them tick.

We also don’t get the standard sense of stakes and urgency we’d find in a legal tale, largely because Loving almost entirely avoids courtroom scenes. Again, this is another unusual choice that I feel like I should applaud, but given the movie’s absence of much to make it compelling, I can’t help but wish the story injected the natural drama these sequences would entail.

Both Negga and Edgerton do fine in their underwritten roles, as they make the Lovings effectively human despite the lack of much to abet them. Granted, Edgerton feels a little Sling Blade at times, but he still does fine, and Negga adds warmth to her thin part.

I just wish the movie gave them more to do. As it stands, Loving tends to be too slow and distant to become more than an admirable piece without much real drama.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

Loving appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an appealing presentation.

Sharpness looked very good. Only mild softness materialized, which meant a tight, well-defined image. I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expected, the film lacked any print flaws.

In terms of palette, America went with a pretty standard mix of orange and teal. The film didn’t overwhelm us with those choices and made them low-key, but the image did favor them in its gentle manner. Within the stylistic decisions, the hues seemed fine. Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked smooth and clear. This turned into an appealing image.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it came across as low-key, and that seemed fine given the movie’s parameters. A couple of shots – such as a drag race – offered a bit of pizzazz, and general ambience worked fine. Nothing much that I could call memorable evolved, though, so this stayed a subdued soundscape.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed distinctive and concise, without roughness or brittleness. Music was warm and full, and effects came across as accurate. Effects showed good delineation and accuracy. The soundtrack worked appropriately for the material.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we find an audio commentary from writer/director Jeff Nichols. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at what inspired him to make the film, historical elements and context, story/character areas, sets and locations, cast and performances, music and related domains.

Overall, Nichols provides a competent commentary. He gets into both filmmaking nuts and bolts and historical topics in a reasonably informative manner. Like the movie, the chat always remains a little too subdued for its own good, but Nichols still delivers a largely worthwhile conversation.

Four featurettes follow. Making Loving goes for four minutes, 28 seconds and offers info from Nichols, producers Colin Firth, Marc Turteltaub, Nanci Buirski, Ged Doherty, Sarah Green and Peter Saraf, costume designer Erin Benach, and actors Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Terri Abney, and Jon Bass.

“Making” discusses the project’s origins and development, story/characters and historical domains, cast and performances, sets and locations. This is mainly promotional material with little depth.

Next comes A Loving Ensemble, a four-minute, seven-second piece with Nichols, Doherty, Green, Negga, Abney, Firth, Edgerton, and actors Michael Shannon and Nick Kroll. As expected, this one examines cast, characters and performances. As expected, it offers a lot of happy talk and little else.

Loving v. Virginia fills four minutes, 26 seconds with notes from Edgerton, Negga, Green, Nichols, Buirski, Bass, Doherty, Kroll, Abney, actor Marton Csokas and various interracial married couples. “Virginia” views the historical case involved in the movie, and it does so in a wholly non-informative way. All the material found here already comes up in the film.

Finally, we find Virginia: A Loving Backdrop. It lasts three minutes, nine seconds as it provides material with Nichols, Edgerton, Negga, Kroll, Abney, Governor Terry McAuliffe, associate producer Oge Egbuonu, and key assistant location manager Lori Russell. This piece looks at locations. Like its siblings, “Backdrop” lacks detail and much substance.

The disc opens with ads for Nocturnal Animals, The Zookeeper’s Wife, A Monster Calls, Frank & Lola and The Edge of Seventeen. Previews adds clips for Race, Dallas Buyers Club, The Danish Girl, Suffragette and Hyde Park on the Hudson. No trailer for Loving appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Loving. It includes all the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Loving tells an important story and in theory, I admire its dramatic restraint. However, these cinematic choices make it a slow journey that doesn’t pay off with the expected emotional impact because it fails to invest the viewer in its characters. The Blu-ray provides very good picture along with acceptable audio and average supplements. Loving remains watchable but it lacks much power.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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