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Two admissions I should make about how I view and think about the movies...

First, I have to admit that when I go to the movies, not only do I want to like them, but I look hard for things to like, or at least appreciate. I'm a little less tolerant of movies that disappoint than I used to be - perhaps this is just a matter of age - but generally I'm a willing, reasonably easy audience.

Second, I'm not one of those people who is dismayed when movies "based on real events" take liberties with details. They are movies, after all, not histories and not real life ... movies are, by their very nature, a kind of heightened reality. I understand that movies - and plays and TV shows and novels - are designed to get at greater truths and give us the artist's interpretation of events ... to give us less would be to offer us a kind of photocopy, not a piece of art.

I make these two admissions because of a movie I saw last weekend that I desperately wanted to like, but found disappointing, in part because it seemed to be in touch with the facts of the case without capturing the drama of the moments.

The movie is Loving, an historical drama that depicts the real-life case of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial married couple in Virginia who, after being arrested in 1958 for the crime of being married, worked with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to challenge the state's anti-miscegenation law all the way to the US Supreme Court.

To be fair, I'm pretty much alone in my hesitation to recommend Loving. Most critics have adored it, and I suspect it'll be mentioned in next week's Oscar nominations. But I found it to connect to the movie ... it just seemed flat to me, and I found it difficult to connect to any of the characters.

The acting is uniformly good, especially by Ruth Negga as Mildred Loving; she has a quiet dignity that reaches out from the screen and grabs and involves the viewer. Joel Edgerton, who plays the taciturn Richard Loving, is good, but I just didn't relate to him because his stoic nature (which apparently is very accurate) made it so hard. And while I was really interested in the ACLU's role and the how the legal case was made, the attention paid to this piece of the puzzle was more more cursory that I would have liked.

It is a noble subject, and I'm glad I saw Loving, but I walked away wanting to know more and wishing there had been a little more drama in how the story was told.




That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Slàinte!
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