Tuesday, 6 December 2016
Two films this week, both about inter-racial marriages. Loving is the story of Richard and Mildred Loving whose home state of Virginia refused to countenance their marriage in 1958. (Shockingly, it was 1967 before the Supreme Court ruled that this was unconstitutional, and sadly Richard was killed by a drunken driver in 1975.)
It is a very quiet, restrained film - perhaps a bit too restrained for dramatic effect. But it is a very tender depiction of a marriage that endured and a quiet, inarticulate man whose message to the court was simply, 'Tell the judge I love my wife.' Ruth Negga, who plays Mildred, is simply beautiful. Here's a bit more on the historical background and the trailer is here.
But as a film, I think I preferred this one - A United Kingdom, the true story of the romance between Ruth Williams, a typist from South London, who fell for an African law student whose life was already mapped out to be King of Bechuanaland. The skulduggery of the British authorities is quite riveting - perhaps I'm naive, but I was shocked at Attlee's craven stance towards South Africa and gasped at duplicitous Churchill, though I suppose I should have seen that one coming. I think the romance of Ruth and Seretse must have captured the hearts of the nation - or at least feminine hearts - because I remember my mum still talking about them when I was a child. Another trailer here. (Look out for Downton's Lady Edith making a brief appearance as Ruth's sister.)