“Loving” (Focus)

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga star in a scene from the movie "Loving." The Catholic News Service classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents.(CNS/Focus)

By Catholic News Service

Writer-director Jeff Nichols’ fact-based drama about the Virginia couple (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga) whose legal crusade led to a landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision demolishing race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States is so restrained and decorous that it nearly obscures the historical significance of the events it recounts.

Drawing contempt from local police — embodied by the sheriff (Marton Csokas) who initially arrests them — but eventually supported by lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (most prominently Nick Kroll), the duo is forced to stay on the move as they seek to avoid harassment. The original circumstances must have been extraordinarily stressful for the pair since they had no way of knowing whether any given nightfall would be the cue for a hate crime. Yet Nichols keeps his film free from the histrionics that surely must have occurred. Valuable viewing for mature teens based on the cultural impact of the real-life story.

A premarital pregnancy, a couple of crass terms, fleeting racial slurs and two scenes of childbirth. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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