A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Documentary tells the story of the Loving family, an interracial couple who went to court to have their marriage recognized in Virginia and any other state that had banned interracial marriages, taking their case all the way to the Supreme Court in 1967.
Positive Role Models
While they were not Civil Rights activists, Richard and Mildred Loving had the courage of their love for each other to stand up against a racist law in Virginia that made it illegal for interracial couples to get married in the state, a crime punishable by prison time. They were forced into exile outside of Virginia, and faced hostility as well as the challenges of ordinary citizens reluctantly placed in the national spotlight.
Archival film footage of a Ku Klux Klan member giving an angry speech in which he uses the "N" word, and calls the kids of mixed-race parentage "mongrels" and "half-breeds." Archival footage of Southern white men speaking condescendingly of their relationships with the African Americans in their community, use the "N" word repeatedly. Racist term to describe Native Americans.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Much of the movie features archival film footage of the Loving Family at their home in rural Virginia, where Richard and Mildred are often shown smoking cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Loving Story is a 2011 documentary about an interracial married couple's fight to overturn state bans on interracial marriage, leading to a historic Supreme Court case. There's archival footage of a KKK member giving a speech in which he uses the "N" word, and refers to the kids of interracial couples as "half-breeds" and "mongrels." Archival footage of Southern white men speaking condescendingly of the African Americans in their communities while using the "N" word to refer to them. Racist term used to describe Native Americans. There's cigarette smoking throughout. This documentary relies on archival footage and contemporary interview footage with the lawyers who defended the Lovings to show how racism had become part of the laws of most states and was interpreted as such by state judges who affirmed these racist views in their judgments. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While the legal dramas that unfold in this documentary are certainly compelling, it's the Lovings themselves who remain in the viewers' memories. The archival footage of Richard and Mildred Loving in their home with their kids in rural Virginia inherently reveals the deep love they held for each other. It's a profound love that's enough to override their natural disinclination to be thrust into the national spotlight, a love that communicates so much more to the viewer than the legalese of Loving v Virginia, the landmark 1967 Supreme Court case that, finally, overturned racist state laws that made interracial marriage a crime.
While the story of the Loving v Virginia case is an interesting story in and of itself, The Loving Story spends just as much time on the love Richard and Mildred had for each other, and by doing so, it reminds us of how ordinary citizens can bring about change simply by acting on the courage of their desires for basic freedoms. The Lovings were not gifted orators, weren't protesting on the streets. They were a married couple very much in love who wanted the right to be married in their own home state in their community, with their families and friends. The Loving Story beautifully renders this aspect of this historic moment in Civil Rights, and these moments of pure affection that they share while caught on camera is revealed to be so much more powerful than the screaming of racists and a judicial system that codified and upheld this racism for far too long.
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