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Friday, February 3, 2017

'Loving' DVD/BD: Yes, Virginia; There Is An Inherent Right to Marriage

Image result for loving blu-ray images

The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment February 7, 2017 Blu-ray/DVD release of the 2016 drama "Loving" clearly and aptly coincides with Black History Month. This biopic about the law-sanctioned prejudice that aptly monikered inter-racial married couple Richard and Mildred Loving experience in 1950s and '60s Virginia is an important grim reminder of the history of the law sticking its nose in bedrooms and other inapt locations.

The following YouTube clip of the "Loving" theatrical trailer is an artistic Cliff Notes of the progression of the story that stays true to the spirit of the film.

Joel Edgerton, who is best known to Unreal TV readers as the writer/director/star of the reviewed Universal BD/DVD release of the Jason Bateman thriller "The Gift," plays blonde-haired blue-eyed Richard. Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga plays Mildred. These crazy kids meet and fall in love in a largely color-blind rural farming community in Virginia.

We first meet the loving couple soon after Richard inserts a bun in the oven of girlfriend Mildred. Loving her and wanting to do right the right thing prompts Richard to take Mildred (and her father Theoliver played by soon-to-be interviewed Christopher Mann) across state lines to get hitched. The reason for this road trip is that Washington DC, but not Virginia, allows inter-racial marriages.

On getting hitched, the Lovings return to Virginia for their honeymoon period. A night-time raid by local law-enforcement abruptly terminates that wedded bliss. Soon after their arrests, our couple receives the choice of leaving Virginia and not returning for at least 25 years or becoming guests of the state.

The Lovings opt to flee back to our nation's capital, where they enjoy an inner-city lifestyle that is far less pleasant then their previous life in their native state. That general discontent and an traumatic incident prompt the Lovings to return to Virginia despite knowing that doing so creates a significant risk of incarceration.

The return to Virginia also amps up the activity regarding an ACLU-assisted lawsuit that challenge the constitutionality of the Virginia law. This, in turn, places a national spotlight on the Lovings. That attention includes a story in Life magazine. The segment in which the Life photographer visits the Loving home is a highly entertaining portion of the film.

The film ends in the period surrounding the U.S. Supreme Court considering the merits of the arguments of the Lovings. This review is omitting this outcome for the benefit of readers who are not familiar with the story. You folks who know that inter-racial marriage is legal in 2017 and who believe that every film has a Hollywood ending must remember that even the mid-60s is not an especially liberal era in the United States and that the good guy does not always win in modern films.

On a larger level, writer/director Jeff Nichols nicely portrays the Lovings as the ordinary working-class folks that the real-life couple seem to be. Just like Rosa Parks merely being a tired woman wanting to sit down, the real-life Lovings are a couple who want to be married for reasons that are the same as couples in which both people are the same race. Parks and the Lovings simply find themselves the symbols of two injustices of their day.

The copious bonus features include a "making-of" documentary and a study of the real-life lawsuit.

Anyone with questions regarding the reel or the real Lovings is encouraged to email me. You also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.