DON'T WORRY: The Loving Story isn't as sappy as its title makes it sound. Sure, it's a love story, but one void of eye-rolling dialogue and fuzzy bullshit. The HBO documentary follows the rocky trial of Mildred and Richard Loving, a Virginia couple fighting to legalize their interracial marriage in the early '60s. Originally married in Washington, DC—where interracial marriage was legal at the time—the soft-spoken couple then moved to a surprisingly prejudice-free rural Virginia town, unaware that their marriage was now unlawful. Caught by a pro-segregation sheriff, the Lovings and their two small children were immediately banished from Virginia and forced to stay with their accommodating parents. Thus began their nine-year-long journey to return home.
The couple was paired with two young ACLU lawyers, fresh out of law school but determined to make history, who still glow with exuberance in their present-day interviews spread throughout the film.
Built almost entirely on an impressive collection of archival footage—everything from home videos to film from KKK rallies—The Loving Story manages to capture both the political and social tone of the time. But despite tackling this issue in the heart of the civil rights movement, the couple isn't in it for the publicity or the conflict. (The March on Washington was, Mildred says, "just something we saw on TV. We weren't involved.") At the end of the day, the Lovings are simply a determined couple fueled by their love and desire to raise a family. While the ending is expected (thanks, history!), the film itself provides a new and personal angle to a national game-changer.