Editor’s Notes: The Loving Story is now available on DVD. Special features includes bonus footage on the ACLU lawyers.
Whenever an event in history explodes and becomes something that defines importance, stories that you might not have heard about before might not get the attention they deserve. The Loving Story is such an example. Around the time when the Civil Rights movement was getting ugly, a love story was forming shape. Richard and Mildred met, and fell in love. It wouldn’t be such an ordeal, except this union was between a man and a woman of different races. Interracial marriage was illegal, and even though they were able to tie the knot, the law caught up with them, and so did the storm of racism. What follows is a lengthy and trying legal battle to not only be able get back home (they were kicked out of the state of Virginia as a result of their marriage), but also to get back their dignity, and the right to be happy.
Whenever an event in history explodes and becomes something that defines importance, stories that you might not have heard about before might not get the attention they deserve. The Loving Story is such an example.
It’s a fascinating story; one that is more than capable of pulling you into its depths. The beginning of this documentary would have you believe that. The first act begins like raw act of weaving a tapestry to form the frame of humanity. The raw quality comes from its risky narrative structure chosen by director Nancy Buirski (making her directorial debut). The Loving Story is told majorly from actual footage and photos taken of the Lovings and their children. All the moments of the trial are captured, either through video or audio, and what better tools to utilize for a documentary than the actual facts come to life? As previously mentioned, The Loving Story indeed starts lovingly. The anguish, the suffering, and the dismay are presented live and with a delicate, warm touch. Through the first few chapters of the story, Buirski and her team do a fine job of constructing the sentiments, transitioning between chapters gracefully with ease and without any notice. But then something happens. When the documentary starts to showcase the true horror of the situation, things start to crumble.
The first act begins like raw act of weaving a tapestry to form the frame of humanity. The raw quality comes from its risky narrative structure chosen by director Nancy Buirski (making her directorial debut).
The loving pace that was once present deteriorates, like it lost the voice it once had. Then the actual dismay starts to become present; all those special tools a filmmaker can work with to drive home the severity of the situation were all used up with the first act, although it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) work like that. It’s almost as if the story changes hands, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it actually did. The absolute most important part of the story, the moment that would change history itself, is betrayed by the fizzling of the will to make this already unique true-life story be astonishing in a cinematic environment. The number of opportunities lost to create some standout moments start to stack up like the body count of action director’s blood lust for a body count. By the time the ending comes, it comes like a last-minute act of rectification. The Loving Story tries to bring back the original narrative, but it just comes too little too late. There’s no denying the tale of this couple is an important chapter in the long, hard look at the Civil Rights era. There’s also no denying that it deserved a better telling.
[notification type=”star”]59/100 ~ MEDIOCRE. The Loving Story starts off as a documentary of importance and a labor of love, but then it fizzles into a sad, missed opportunity.[/notification]