Sunday, November 27, 2016

Review: Rules Don't Apply

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.
It's been 15 years since Warren Beatty either stepped behind or in front of a camera, so it's a great pleasure to see him doing both with his new film "Rules Don't Apply," although the picture itself is, perhaps, not the comeback for which fans were likely hoping.

It's not a bad film by any means. There are some solid performances, especially Beatty himself as the eccentric Howard Hughes, and a decent enough script, but it's a fairly lightweight entry into Beatty's directorial filmography, which includes his terrific "Reds," the vastly entertaining "Dick Tracy" and the hilarious and woefully underrated "Bulworth."

His latest is a light and breezy romantic comedy set against the backdrop of the late 1950s and early 1960s in Hollywood, where Hughes's name still carried enough prestige to nab him headlines, but he had - at this point - already become known as being a recluse with peculiar habits.

In the film, a young actress named Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) has been invited to become one of the many young actresses bankrolled by Hughes who hope to score a screen test and, thereafter, a career in the pictures. She befriends a young driver named Frank (Alden Ehrenreich, who was hilarious in "Hail, Caesar!" earlier this year and here does a good job of portraying the straight man to Beatty's nutty Hughes), who is tasked with driving her to her various appointments. Neither Marla nor Frank have met Hughes during the film's first third and, for that matter, most of his other employees have not come face to face with him either.

Naturally, a friendship - and, since this is a movie, more than that - eventually blossoms between the pair, but is complicated after both Marla and Frank eventually meet Hughes, who takes a shine to them both. Further complications ensue, both of the romantic (love triangle) and business-related (Hughes refuses to meet in person a government contract with whom he is supposed to take a multi-million dollar loan) sort.

Although Ehrenreich is a solid leading man and Collins breathes life into Marla, whose character embodies more than a few cliches of the young, innocent starlet in Hollywood (highly religious? anti-drinking? chaste? check, check and check), Beatty is the scene stealer as Hughes, who is so full of antic energy that his character almost feels as if it belongs in a different movie that would center completely on him. Other great actors - Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen and Annette Bening - show up, but are mostly overshadowed by Beatty.

So, while "Rules Don't Apply" has its charms and an admittedly deserved denouement for two of its characters, it's ultimately a fairly minor movie for a major filmmaker, who happens to have not made a movie in some years. But I'm very glad to see Beatty back at work and sincerely hoping this is not a one-off.

Review: Allied

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Aiming to be an old fashioned World War II drama in the vein of "Casablanca," Robert Zemeckis's "Allied" is a handsomely made spy thriller that sputters during its first half before picking up steam during its second. Despite its flaws, it's an entertaining picture with some gorgeous locales, two big name stars who initially struggle to find chemistry and a few exciting scenes of the type you'd expect from an espionage thriller.

As the film opens, Brad Pitt's intelligence officer Max Vatan has been assigned to Casablanca at the height of World War II where he will be teamed up with Marion Cotillard's Marianne Beausejour, a French officer who will pretend to be his wife.

While the photography during the duo's stint in Morocco is visually lush and the filmmakers do a solid job of recreating a 1940s era souk - but also, unfortunately, a silly sex scene during a sandstorm - the picture's first half feels too movie-ish. In other words, the dialogue, performances and narrative give off the impression that the filmmakers are trying too hard to recapture Hollywood moviemaking of a bygone era. As a result, some of the early scenes feel creaky.

It's around the time that Max and Marianne are given an assignment to assassinate a Nazi ambassador that the proceedings begin to pick up. After that thrilling mission, the pair finds that they are in love and Max, who is stationed in England, asks Marianne to become his wife and return home with him.

But after arriving in England, Max is put to an even greater test when his superiors tell him that they believe that Marianne is a German spy and that he must investigate his wife and, if necessary, execute her. Max's investigation leads to a cat and mouse game between the couple and a few exciting - if slightly preposterous - situations for Max, including a flight into enemy territory where Max must attempt to extract information from a drunk French prisoner in a holding cell while Germans roam around outside.

Pitt and Cotillard are both good actors and big movie stars, so it's a bit of a surprise that their early scenes are somewhat lacking in chemistry. It would appear that this is not so much due to the actors themselves, whose performances are otherwise commendable, but the way their characters are written.

And the juxtaposition of the film's two halves - the first being a glossy attempt at capturing an outdated moviemaking style, while the second is darker and more dour - is jarring. Overall, "Allied" is a decent enough spy thriller and romance. It's not one of Zemeckis's better films, but for a big budget period piece with big name actors, it'll do.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Review: Evolution

Image courtesy of IFC Midnight.
Lucile Hadzihalilovic's "Evolution" is often visually sumptuous, but the film is too aloof and abstract to make much of an impression, other than my being impressed by its gorgeous photography. The picture, which is a horror film but only due to process of elimination, is the second film from the French director, whose 2004 picture "Innocence" suffered from some of the same problems.

The picture is set on a small secluded French island that is populated solely by a group of thirtysomething women and prepubescent boys, all of whom are led to believe that they are in poor health and that the women are their caretakers.

As the picture opens, one of the boys - Nicholas (Max Brebant) - is swimming in the sea and thinks he spots a young boy's corpse under the water that has a starfish attached to it. His mother (Julie-Marie Parmentier) or, at least, the woman who calls herself so tries to convince Nicholas that he imagined the whole thing but he, unlike the other boys on the island, isn't so quick to believe everything the women tell him.

This is, we come to find out, a smart move on his part. As the boys grow older, they are kept in the hospital, where they undergo a strange type of surgery that involves removing their belly buttons. Although the film's narrative keeps much at bay, it would appear that, once in the hospital, the boys are impregnated. During a sequence in which Nicholas is kept there, he awakens to find himself tied up in some sort of gigantic test tube where he is surrounded by water and accompanied by an odd-looking infant.

So, as I'd mentioned, if you feel the need to define it, you'd probably have to call "Evolution" a horror movie since it seems to revolve around a group of adults performing bizarre experiments on children on a creepy, mostly deserted island. That being said, it's more ominous than it is outright frightening and although the locale's scenery goes a long way, the picture mostly fumbles narratively.

"Evolution" is, however, often visually stunning. The picture opens with gorgeous shots of the ocean's floor and the picture features an abundance of lovely underwater photography as well as striking visuals of the island by night.

But the movie was too opaque to register for me. It's willfully holding back. But rather than making the proceedings more mysterious, they eventually become tedious. Many of my favorite films are ones that do not provide discernible answers and I have a particular interest in abstract, surreal and open ended films. But this one is too vague for its own good and its atmosphere doesn't quite make up for its seeming lack of purpose.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review: The Edge of Seventeen

Image courtesy of STX Entertainment.
The spirit of John Hughes and Cameron Crowe runs through the veins of "The Edge of Seventeen," a winsome and enjoyable youth comedy that doesn't quite live up to its predecessors, but features a compelling lead character, a fair amount of laughs and some solid supporting performances.

Hailee Steinfeld was a terrific find in the Coen Brothers's "True Grit," but her abilities have only been modestly utilized ever since. But as Nadine, the protagonist of Kelly Fremon Craig's film, she proves that she is a capable leading lady and comedienne.

Nadine is a loner who, at an early age, suffered through her share of disappointments and tragedies, such as being ostracized at school and the early death of her father. Her mother (Kyra Sedgwick) is slightly overbearing and doesn't know how to deal with her daughter, while her brother, Darian (Blake Jenner), is a popular jock, while she is - to put it bluntly - a dork.

But she befriends another girl named Krista (played in the teen years by Haley Lu Richardson), who is a kindred soul, that is, until she discovers her pal in bed one day with her brother, leaving Nadine feeling completely alone. In her quest to make a connection, she makes a poor decision in choosing a bad boy, whom she accidentally sends a dirty text in one of the film's funniest scenes, and a good one by becoming sorta-pals and sorta-more with an Asian American student and budding filmmaker named Erwin (Hayden Szeto).

The scenes between Nadine and Erwin are among the film's most charming and would seem to exist as some sort of corrective to "Sixteen Candles," a John Hughes film that very likely inspired "The Edge of Seventeen" (both use Spandau Ballet on the soundtracks), but one that also featured the character of Long Duck Dong, which was, let's face it, a pretty awful stereotype.

My favorite among the film's supporting cast is Woody Harrelson as Mr. Bruner, Nadine's sardonic teacher and begrudging confidante. If the scenes between Nadine and Erwin are the picture's sweetest, then the ones between Harrelson and Steinfeld are the wittiest and best written. There's also a nice scene late in the film when Nadine visits her teacher at his home and discovers that some of the ideas which she had about him are unfounded.

So, while "The Edge of Seventeen" doesn't quite rise to the level of "Say Anything," "The Breakfast Club" or some of the other 1980s teen movie hallmarks to which it appears to pay tribute - for example, did we really need yet another scene of an awkward lead character going to a party and behaving awkwardly? Probably not. - it's a likable, well acted and funny movie all the same. And I'd imagine that the age group for which it's likely aimed - although it is, in fact, rated R - will lap it up. It's a nice addition to the youth movie canon.

Review: Nocturnal Animals

Image courtesy of Focus Features.
Fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford takes a step up as a director with his extremely dark and icy thriller "Nocturnal Animals," which tells two bleak tales simultaneously that focus on revenge, albeit different types.

Amy Adams plays Susan Morrow, an emotionally reserved art gallery owner in Los Angeles, whose husband (Armie Hammer) is a businessman who pays her little attention. As the picture opens, Hammer's character is going on a trip to New York and we get the hint that he is, perhaps, not being faithful to his wife.

At the same time, a package arrives that Susan discovers contains a novel from her estranged ex-husband, Edward (Jeff Gyllenhaal), whom she spurned years before. The novel's title is "Nocturnal Animals" and the book has been dedicated to Susan, which ends up being a disturbing homage once we get into the content of the tome.

As Susan begins reading the novel, its story takes center stage as a man named Tony (also played by Gyllenhaal) travels through the night in a desolate Texas locale with his wife (Isla Fischer) and teenage daughter (Ellie Bamber). While attempting to pass a slow moving car on the highway, the driver of the other vehicle forces Tony off the road and the man driving, a sleaze ball (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), and his two equally scuzzy pals torment the family. The scene is among the most intense and disturbing I've seen this year and it culminates with Taylor-Johnson and his friends kidnapping Tony's wife and daughter, leaving him alone in the desert.

Tony enlists the help of a local lawman (an excellent Michael Shannon) who has terminal cancer and has nothing to lose. When the investigation and ensuing case hit a snag, Shannon's Bobby Andes suggests to Tony that the duo engage in other methods of finding justice.

"Nocturnal Animals" tells two stories that vary in tone - the one with Adams as the gallery owner is purposefully stylish and icy, while the Texas-based thriller being told in the novel is something straight out of pulp fiction - but are equally dark and unsettling. After the story in the novel finally reaches its climax, we are left to watch the final scenes with Susan unfold and we realize that both stories are - to an extent - about characters seeking revenge. The final scene is open ended and may lead to disagreements as to what it means, but it seems pretty obvious that it ties fairly closely to Edward's intention in sending the novel to his ex-wife.

The film is visually gorgeous - from the dusty Texas scenery to the stunning overhead shots of traffic on Los Angeles highways - and the performances are all strong, especially Shannon, who also brings some much-needed humor to the proceedings. I enjoyed Ford's debut, "A Single Man," but his sophomore film is a stronger, more confident picture. It works as a tense thriller, but also as a dark commentary on human relationships. I'd highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Review: Manchester by the Sea

Image courtesy of Roadside Attractions.
Kenneth Lonergan's devastating "Manchester by the Sea" is the rare movie about the grieving process that doesn't end with its characters overcoming a tragedy and being happy again, but rather learning how to cope with their situation. While we see the film's characters change during the course of the picture, their story is by no means solved at the conclusion.

With only three feature films under his belt, Lonergan has proven himself a master at capturing the way ordinary people speak, live existences that are recognizable to us and deal with difficult situations. His "You Can Count On Me" was an assured debut, while his post-9/11 drama "Margaret" was a bold directorial statement.

His latest, "Manchester by the Sea," is intimate in nature and tells the very sad story of Lee Chandler (a career best for Casey Affleck), although the film is often funny and uses deadpan humor to alleviate the tension and sadness. During one scene, Lee and his nephew, Patrick (a very good Lucas Hedges), sit at the dinner table. Lee has a bandage on his hand after having punched out a window and Patrick inquires about the injury. "It's cut," replies Lee. "Oh, for a minute there I didn't know what happened," Patrick shoots back.

It's incredible that the film's characters remember how to crack jokes at all. In flashbacks, we learn how a tragedy that I won't reveal here broke apart Lee's marriage to his wife, Randi (Michelle Williams, stellar). Lee, who lives alone and works as a maintenance man for a building, purposefully avoids most human contact, that is, other than the occasional fights he picks at the local bar where he hangs out in Boston.

As the picture opens, Lee's older brother (Kyle Chandler, also excellent) has just died and Lee is surprised to find that he has been left as the guardian for Patrick. This leads to a conundrum because Patrick goes to school in the film's small, titular town and - as he likes to mention, he plays hockey for the school team, all of his friends are there and he has two girlfriends. Therefore, Lee would have to move to where Patrick lives (he's not enthused with the idea) or Patrick would have to move in with Lee in Boston.

The film effortlessly switches back and forth between Lee going about the practical matters of arranging for his brother's funeral and taking over father figure duties with Patrick and flashbacks that show us gradually how Lee became so isolated and reveal how close he was to his brother. Although every performance in the film is great, "Manchester by the Sea" is not a showy film. It'll likely get nominated for a slew of awards, but it doesn't beg for them.

As I'd mentioned before, one of the elements that makes the film so powerful and raw is that it doesn't wrap everything up in a bow and there aren't exactly happy endings for many of the characters. Rather, Lee and those in his orbit come to accept that their lives will never likely be the same again and they learn to cope with their grief.

Towards the picture's end, a particularly cathartic - albeit profoundly sad - conversation takes place between Lee and his ex-wife on a street corner that is just as moving as the final conversation in Barry Jenkins's marvelous "Moonlight." Both scenes are among the year's best in terms of writing and acting.

"Manchester by the Sea" is an astute, haunting and powerful film about loss and the way people punish themselves for their mistakes, but it's also about forgiveness - learning to forgive others and ourselves and to ask for forgiveness from those whom we've cause pain. The picture is emotionally rewarding, but does not peddle cheap sentiment, and while it could be described as melodrama, it's never maudlin. This is one of the year's best movies.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Review: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Image courtesy of Sony Pictures.
Ang Lee's "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" is a noble misfire, a film that tries to do something different and has its heart in the right place, but never overcomes its flaws. Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Ben Fountain, Lee decided to shoot the film in 3D at a frame rate of 120 per second, which is five times the normal rate, at 4K resolution. This gives the images a far greater clarity and detail than your average movie.

So, yes, "Billy Lynn" looks pretty amazing and its visual details are so precise that you often get the feeling as if you could be in the scene with the characters. The problem is, however, that the characters mostly speak in platitudes and there are multiple plot strands and subplots being woven throughout the picture and a number of them ring false.

As the film opens, Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) and his unit (which is led by a steely Garrett Hedlund) are taking part in a halftime show along with Destiny's Child (this is 2004, mind you) at a Dallas Cowboys football game, where they'll be honored for a heroic effort under fire in Iraq. Their sergeant (Vin Diesel) was killed during the battle, but Lynn's captured image of running into the line of fire to attempt to save the man has become an iconic one that is being used to rally the nation.

As Lynn and his fellow soldiers stand by and wait for the point when they'll march out onto the football team's field, Billy flashes back to the moment for which he is being honored, but which he also calls the "worst day of his life." We also see Lynn's return home, where his family is supportive, but his sister (Kristen Stewart, a scene stealer) wants him to leave the military in order to save his life.

There are a number of other stories taking place throughout the course of the film and their success varies. Chris Tucker plays an agent who is trying to secure a movie deal for the platoon's story, while Steve Martin shows up as a slimy businessman who might finance the film. Two of the picture's least successful plot threads include Billy's flirtation with a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader that never feels particularly realistic or properly developed and a series of skirmishes between the soldiers and people at the game - at one point, an offensive spectator and, least realistically, a group of stage hands who continually attack the soldiers during the course of the evening. Every time these fights break out, the film nearly comes to a dead halt.

There are some powerful moments to be found in the picture, including some nice chemistry between Lynn and Diesel's quasi-mystical Sergeant Shroom as well as some heartfelt scenes between Alwyn and Stewart's concerned sister, who has a few demons of her own. And the key scene that involves Lynn's attempt to save Shroom and, in the process, fight off an Iraqi insurgent is effectively powerful.

But there's too much going on during the course of "Billy Lynn" and too much of it is either unnecessary, far fetched or relying too heavily on cliche. Many of the film's characters come off as composites of various types you've already seen in movies of this type, rather than living, breathing characters with their own personalities. Lee has always been a great visual director, but his films - especially "The Ice Storm" and "Brokeback Mountain" - often feature great writing, whereas the screenplay is among this picture's weakest elements.

So, while "Billy Lynn" is often incredible to look at, due to its groundbreaking visual format, the film's other elements don't quite hold together. I've been told by a few people that Fountain's novel is a great one - and I believe them - but this is a case of an acclaimed work of fiction not translating as well as it could have onto the big screen.

Review: Arrival

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
The science fiction film has seen a creative surge in recent years, thanks to a series of thoughtful takes on the genre by a number of big-name filmmakers, such as Alfonso Cuaron ("Gravity"), Christopher Nolan ("Interstellar"), Ridley Scott ("The Martian") and, now, Denis Villeneuve, whose "Arrival" is so vastly different from his recent pictures - the woefully underrated thriller "Prisoners" and the tense drug war drama "Sicario" - that it displays an impressive range for the up-and-coming filmmaker.

Although the picture doesn't quite stack up to Villeneuve's previous successes, it's a unique take on a close encounter and features a story that doesn't involve an invasion so much as a visit that nearly leads to a crisis. It's closer in nature, in other words, to "The Day the Earth Stood Still" than "Independence Day" or films of that ilk.

As the movie opens, we meet Louise, a language specialist who is called in to attempt to translate after the Earth is visited by a series of shell-like spaceships. She is teamed up with a scientist named Ian (Jeremy Renner) and the two of them are tasked with finding out the purpose of the extraterrestrials' visit. Although we mostly see the aliens through a see-through wall shrouded in mist, we can glimpse gigantic octopus hands that squirt ink, which is the beings' form of writing.

It's difficult to discuss the plot of "Arrival" too closely because there is a significant twist that will color your interpretation of the entirety of the film once it actually arrives. Suffice it to say that it's a clever twist and one that is used to give you a different view of everything you have seen, rather than just pull the rug out from under your feet.

Adams gives a tightly controlled performance as Louise, whose life outside her work involves a series of sequences that are interwoven in which she interacts with a young girl that we assume to be her daughter. Renner's Ian tells Louise that he too is alone, which helps to form a bond between the two specialists. The cast is rounded out by Forest Whitaker as a military man overseeing the operation to communicate with the aliens and Michael Stuhlbarg as a hasty government agent.

The film occasionally lags, especially in the early scenes when events that are fairly seismic are portrayed as low-key and the repetitiveness of Louise and Ian's visits with the extraterrestrials also halts the picture's momentum from time to time.

But all in all, "Arrival" bounces around some fascinating ideas, includes some impressive but modest special effects and a strong lead performance and, ultimately, arrives at a concept that reminded me of - of all things - "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." To say anymore would be to give away the film's secrets, but Villeneuve's film poses an interesting question to its audience as to how we would choose our actions if we already knew the result. "Arrival" is occasionally a little too toned down for its own good, but is - at its best - thoughtful and insightful.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Image courtesy of Lionsgate.
Only Mel Gibson would make a film about one of history's most famous conscientious objectors and fill it to the brim with gore, exploding bodies and rats eating away at faces. This, however, should come as no surprise as Gibson's work behind the camera includes such bloodbaths as "Braveheart," "The Passion of the Christ" and "Apocalypto."

On the whole, "Hacksaw Ridge" is a well-made war movie with a unique figure as its central character. Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) was one of the first three conscientious objectors to receive the Medal of Honor. During World War II, he acted as a medic in the army and was credited for valiantly saving a number of men during the horrific Battle of Okinawa.

We first meet Doss as a boy when, during a fight, he nearly kills his brother after hitting him in the head with a brick. He later gets into a confrontation with his abusive father (Hugo Weaving) in order to protect his mother, but thereafter decides that he will never again engage in violence or touch a gun.

The early scenes with Doss as a grown man occasionally lean a little too heavily on the Virginia man's folksiness. Some of the scenes with his paramour, Dorothy (Teresa Palmer), are sweet, while others are maudlin. When World War II breaks out, Doss wants to serve his country, but is conflicted about the violence involved, so he joins with the intent to be a medic. However, his commanding officers (Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington) aren't having any of it.

At basic training, Doss is tormented by his fellow officers, who ridicule his beliefs and even physically attack him. But once in battle, he proves his worth during the Battle of Okinawa, where he stays behind after his fellow soldiers have retreated back down a cliff, so that he can drag wounded men left behind to safety. Despite a slightly over-the-top moment during the sequence in which he awaits word from God, the extended Okinawa sequence is powerful, intense and well-shot.

The scene is also extremely gory. Bullets pierce helmets, bodies and faces, while legs are blown off and torsos split in two lay along the ground. On several occasions, Doss witnesses rats crawling out of the torn apart bodies of soldiers and whenever bombs go off, blood and body parts fly through the air. Is the film a little gratuitous? Perhaps. But the depiction of the battle, which takes up the final third of the picture, is unflinching and effective.

As a director, Gibson's obsessions often conflict each other on screen. His deeply held religious beliefs and use of Christ-like protagonists are often surrounded by brutal carnage and cruelty. That being said, he is a talent behind the camera. "Hacksaw Ridge" has its flaws and it's not on par with, say, "Braveheart," but it's a rousing, well-made, engrossing and grim war movie that tells a unique combat zone story.

Review: Loving

Image courtesy of Focus Features.
Jeff Nichols's "Loving" is a film that is likely to make audience members angry or emotional, but it goes about it in a quiet way. It's a film about a landmark Supreme Court case that brought some justice to the discriminated, but you don't see any rousing speeches before a jury in the picture.

Nichols has long been a filmmaker on the rise, from his low-key debut "Shotgun Stories" to his remarkable "Take Shelter," the Southern coming of age crime story "Mud" and moody sci-fi thriller "Midnight Special," which was released earlier this year. "Loving" is a powerful, but restrained, love story that features two solid performances by its leads and a measured pace that rewards viewers with patience.

As the film opens, we meet Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga), an interracial couple who keep their romance mostly on the down low in Virginia circa 1958. But when Mildred finds out she is pregnant, the couple travels to Washington D.C., where they are married, but are arrested shortly after returning to their home state after the local authorities find out that they are living together.

After several run-ins with the law, the Lovings are given a choice by the court: serve jail time or leave the state. They choose the latter and, for a number of years, raise their children in D.C. until Mildred, watching Martin Luther King Jr.'s march on Washington on TV, one day determines that she's had enough. The couple moves back to Virginia and - with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and a lawyer, Bernard Cohen - they take their case to the highest court.

As I mentioned before, in the hands of a different filmmaker this material could lead to an abundance of emotional scenes, courtroom battles and high drama. Instead, Nichols's film observes the daily lives of the Lovings - Richard's construction work, Mildred watching over her children and the couple's parents who appear resigned to Richard and Mildred's difficult lives. In fact, the film's most pivotal moment is conveyed through a quiet phone conversation in which we can only hear one of the two people talking.

Edgerton gives a solid, restrained performance as Richard Loving, a quiet man who is obviously uncomfortable with the attention lavished on him due to his high profile court case and Ruth Negga gives a powerful breakthrough performance as Mildred, who sees the case as not only affecting her family, but one that could relieve the pain of many others. And Nichols regular Michael Shannon pops up in a nice scene during which he - playing Time Magazine photographer GreyVillet - takes the iconic photo of the Lovings sitting on their couch, watching TV and laughing.

"Loving" is a well-told story of a significant moment in U.S. history that focuses less on the politics or the atmosphere of the era, but rather zooms in on the lives of the two characters at its center. It's a quietly absorbing film about two people who made an indelible mark on our nation by simply daring to love.