Three years ago, a Cheerios commercial featuring a mixed race couple and their daughter aired nationwide. What the ad agency, the actors nor Proctor & Gamble could have never predicted was the outlandish response.
Thousands of consumers flooded P&G with complaints over the spot. It single-handedly generated such a strong racist backlash on YouTube that the comments section had to be closed. The ad had received more than 1,600 likes and more than 500 dislikes.
On the Cheerio’s Facebook page many commented that they found the commercial “disgusting” and that it made them “want to vomit.” Other hateful comment expressed shock that a black father would stay with his family. However, on the flip side, many took to Facebook to express their appreciation for Cheerios’ decision to feature a mixed-race family.
Shocking? Not really given the current climate in our country.
In 1958, however, it was unlawful to be married and of mixed race. A fact that Mildred and Richard Loving knew all too well. It was their Supreme Court case “Loving v. Virginia” that changed the trajectory of mixed race couples forever making it perfectly legal to love and marry anyone of any race you prefer. Clearly, it took the State of Virginia nearly 10 years to actually live up to its moniker, “Virginia is for Lovers”.
Mildred and Richard showed America that love has no color line and that they would do whatever it took to keep their family together. In spite of being jailed. In spite of being betrayed. In spite of fear. In spite of hate. These two “human beings” fought to live the life they wanted on the own terms using the law to make that dream a reality.
Every performance in this film is absolutely extraordinary. However, Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton are giving performances that are simply powerful and heart-wrenching. They both giving meaning to the phrase “quiet fire” and their chemistry is undeniable. It takes a lot of technical strength as an actor to effectively convey an emotion or thought with little to no dialogue. Negga and Edgerton are masterful at it and both deserve to have their work recognized this awards season.
Adam Stone’s photography of the Virginian countryside is absolutely breathtaking. Knowing that Martin Scorsese was originally attached peaked my curiosity, as I am a huge fan of his work with The Age of Innocence. Though, I must say Jeff Nichols turned out to be a perfect match for this story and its execution.
Based in part on the 2011 Nancy Buirski documentary, “The Loving Story“, LOVING is a very moving story that will make you look at life and the human race just a little bit differently. At the end of the day, we all bleed red no matter what our ethnicity is. LOVING opens in select theatres on November 4th.