Have you heard about the film Loving yet?
I had just one word when the film ended: simplicity.
My brain refused to quiet. I kept thinking how unbelievably, beautifully simplistic Loving was and how thankful I was that someone was finally sharing this oh-so extraordinary story with the world.
I find it so sad that so many aren't aware of the Loving Family and what their love did for us all. As one gentleman pointed out, "History is forgotten too soon".
In case you've missed the trailers, Loving is the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving: the interracial couple who's landmark case, Loving vs Virginia, invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Basically it's the case that kept parents like mine from ending up in jail.
Y'all I can't praise this film enough. Emotionally, it broke me down but it was done so gently that I wasn't aware that I had tears streaming down until the lights came up. I struggle to find the words for how delicate this story was. The pacing...the tone. It's as if they took sweet Mildred's soul and somehow made a blanket and covered the whole script with her essence...her demeanor and spirit. The first line of the film and the very last scene... I love the thoughtful intentions we were all allowed and expected to feel throughout the film.
What Loving did right:
- There was no white savior. (Thank God.) Instead we see Mildred and Richard save themselves.
- It was honest. There was no Hollywood glaze sopped all over the story. Jeff Nichols, the writer, did an amazing job of letting these people be who they were. Their love, their reservations with publicity, their fears, their strengths... he allowed it all to be included and he did so with integrity and respect. Their humanity was allowed to breath and itt was done so with such subtlety and care. They were able to capture so much...
- It was fair and balanced. We're able to see the grey areas brilliantly. Themes dealing with isolation and otherness aren't ignored. You're privy to their families' reservations but also their support. Race and privilege aren't skimmed over. We see how their community responded, the mistreatments they bared, the fears they lived with and most importantly what that kind of injustice looked like and what it felt like without all of the horrendous spirit breaking techniques some other films have used in the past. (My favorite example: The N word was only used once. ONCE! Yet you're still able to grasp the unjust hell they live in. Imagine that.) Bravo, storytellers. Bravo!
I had the opportunity to see this film because of an amazing sister friend of mine, Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni along with an organization she's a co-director at called Mixed Roots Stories. I love organizations that create opportunities for our communities to come together to discuss, share and grow. The Q&A after the film was thought provoking. One man shared how his parents had done the very same thing the Lovings were forced to do in order to legalize their marriage. He wept because it offered him an opportunity to see his parents' story. Another gentleman shared the relevant parallels this story has with gay rights and the conversations we're still having regarding marriage equality. One South Asian mother told us her family had stopped talking to her for ten years when she married a black man.
I felt like I had come home. It was the conversation I needed to be a part of. You know I'm about to get super duper involved with Mixed Roots Stories now, right?
You must see this film. With #OscarsSoWhite and the obvious dangers of a single story it's imperative that we support films like this. If this movie does anything it will prove that sharing our simple stories leads to complex and wonderful change.
The Q&A ended with a powerful question: In a world bent on convincing us we're post-racial...a world that swears up and down that mixing will end the hate (that's a doozy of a statement we'll have to discuss in a different post) what role does love play in social change? I encourage you to see the film and then come back here and share your answer. I can't wait to discuss!
All the luv,
I came home and immediately wanted to find footage of the Lovings. I just love them soooo much.