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The Loving Story 2011

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Icarus Films, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Augusta Films, LLC – Elisabeth Haviland James
Directed by Nancy Buirski
DVD , color and b&w, 45 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
African American Studies, American Studies, History, Human Rights, Law, Media Studies, Political Science, Women’s Studies

Date Entered: 05/24/2012

ALA Notable: yes
Reviewed by Jennifer Dean, MALS student, City Univerity of New York (CUNY Graduate Center)

The Loving Story explores the struggle of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple charged with breaking the law in Virginia after ignoring the state’s anti-miscegenation laws and marrying in 1958. The documentary paints the couple as reluctant heroes – simply wanting to live their lives in peace and yet contributing to the civil rights of all U.S citizens by taking their case to the Supreme Court which deemed the Virginia law unconstitutional after hearing the case in 1967.

Nancy Buirski incorporates magnificent footage from the private life of Richard and Mildred Loving with their children as well as interviews with family members and Virginia neighbors both in support and against the Lovings. Photographs depict the private emotional anguish of the couple during their very public struggle. Interview footage of the lawyers both from when the case was being tried and more recently reflecting on their experiences provide insights to the law and the personal story of the Lovings. Buirski contextualizes the question of miscegenation through an interview with a scholar and movie clips demonstrating the issues facing the nation in the 1950’s and 1960’s. That academic analysis, however, is brief as the documentary doesn’t veer far from the story (and case) in question – that of the Lovings’ very private struggle made public. The analysis of the issues is rendered through the story itself thanks to the incredible archival footage gathered from the time of the actual trial interspersed with contemporary interviews of the attorneys handling the case and Peggy Loving, daughter of Richard and Mildred. The film is informative and emotionally engaging and includes a beautiful score which underlies the evocative photographs. The story told is not only historically relevant but a useful companion to contemporary discussions regarding same-sex marriage issues being litigated in the courts today.