Francine Maisler will probably be nominated, if not win the Artios Award for an independent feature. If you don't know what that is, it is the award given by the Casting Society of America to casting directors for casting the right cast for particular projects.


It would not be a longshot prediction as she has won eight Artios awards including for the films "The Usual Suspects", "Julie & Julia", "Tropic Thunder", "Mud", and last year's "The Big Short". Recently she was the casting director for "The Revenant", "Creed", "The Light Between the Oceans", the recently released "Arrival" and upcoming "Nocturnal Animals". But for the sake of this review, I'll stick to her casting job with "Loving", Jeff Nichols' latest film.


Nichols and Maisler have worked together before on "Midnight Special" and "Mud", so they are very familiar with each other. While Nichols has the final say as to the cast, you can bet that on a small budget film like "Loving", as the casting director, Maisler had a great deal of input. And, in a word, it would be hard to find a better cast film (take note Edward Zwick) than "Loving"

The story of the Lovings is one that has been tossed to the back burner when discussing cases that changed civil rights, but it is one that profoundly affects state rights concerning marriage. Without Loving versus the State of Virginia, there is no Obergefell versus Hodges to allow same sex marriages in 2015. Period.


Nichols film chronicles the story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial Virginia couple that decided to get married. The one problem was that in 1958, the State of Virginia did not allow interracial marriage for a variety of reason; most reasons having to do with separation of the races. According to the state law, a black person marrying a white person upsets the laws of nature and Virginia just couldn't tolerate that!


Knowing that it was illegal Richard (Joel Edgerton) convinces Mildred (Ruth Negga) to scoot over to Washington DC to marry and return home to live. That was quite illegal, but the Lovings thought they had managed to keep their marriage secret. Unfortunately, they were almost immediately discovered and arrested.

The judge (David Jensen), explains that he won't imprison them if they leave the state immediately. They do, moving to a friend's place in DC, but they really want to live in the country, especially after a near fatal incident involving one of their children.


Once again, they are nabbed but released after pleadings by their local lawyer (Bill Camp). Thius time however, the ACLU stepped in after Mildred wrote a letter to the then Attorney General Bobby Kennedy. Things quickly advanced - movie style - until the case was heard in the United States Supreme Court.


All the while the Lovings eschewed the small publicity that came with the case being heard in the Supreme Court, because they quite frankly just wanted to be married and left alone. And that is what makes this film a love story more than a legal procedural. A great deal of the legal process was omitted while Nichols focused on the relationship of the Lovings.


But what you will get from the film as you watch it, is how well each actor fits so perfectly into their role. Edgerton ("Black Mass", ""Jane Got A Gun", "Warrior") has the 60's look and demeanor down pat as does Negga as Mildred. Just as he did with "Mud", Nichols captures the feel of rural American characters and culture. So, it doesn't matter if the film is 100% true, it feels authentic enough to almost pass as a docudrama.


My one problem with the film came when Mildred was locked up in the local jail; would she lack the emotion that Negga emoted? Wouldn't Richard show a bit more concern that his wife was locked up in jail for a couple of days? Maybe that's how they were, but I doubt it.


"Loving" is a charming, well cast, well acted story of the events that led up to erasing the last of the old segregation laws. But most of all, it is a moving, romantic drama that everyone will appreciate.   -- GEOFF BURTON