The Cannes Film Festival continues to march on into our unofficial look into the fall awards season with Jeff Nichols’ highly anticipated project “Loving” with Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. Reviews have been trickling in and the terms “understated” and “subtle” seem to be a theme but there seems to be universal praise for Negga, who will compete in a Best Actress race that will see the likes of Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Annette Bening, and Jessica Chastain, all with projects this year. That doesn’t count the other contenders we’re not even thinking of yet.
Co-star Michael Shannon is said to have a smaller, cameo role so he’ll be moving out of our Supporting Actor predictions in the next update while we will keep a close eye on the film scoring multiple nominations below the line including Costumes, Editing, and perhaps Score.
Check out snippets of reviews that have dropped below, along with some Twitter reactions.
Jessica Kiang of The Playlist praises Negga:
And Negga’s Mildred is simply mesmerizing — she can make your breath catch with the subtlest of gestures. Early on, Richard brings her to a field near her childhood home, and asks her what she thinks of it. She is nonplussed and a little dismissive, but after he tells her he has bought it, and proposes, there’s this extraordinary moment when she looks around again at the undistinguished scrub of this little acre of land, and you see her fall in love with it.
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter loves Edgerton and Negga says:
All the same, Edgarton impressively pinpoints the man’s rock-solid moral principles and personal virtues; there’s not a moment when he waivers in his love and support for his wife and family, even when others suggest his taking the easy way out. Playing a warmer and more accessible person, Negga keeps drawing you in as she delivers a lovely performance that will put the London-based Irish-Ethiopian stage actress, who had a small role in 12 Years A Slave,decisively on the map.
McCarthy also mentions the film’s shortcomings:
Where the film comes up short to some degree is in the depth of its depiction of the Lovings’ relationship, which is clearly very strong but lacks nuance and articulation, their family (more kids just keep popping up without being mentioned) and network of friends. Richard remains mostly taciturn and internalized even with Mildred and, notwithstanding that he was a man of few words, a few more would have been helpful to give him more dimension.
Rory O’Connor of the Film Stage is very positive with a ‘B+’ rating:
Granted, Nichols plays the familiar hits here but also proves himself to be adept at knowing when to hold back, with regular composer David Wingo only seldom relying on the minor chords. The results are an undeniably moving and also very fitting tribute to a couple who appear to have appreciated their privacy. There are no final arguments to the jury to be seen, no overly abusive police officer, no bricks through the window at night (although a stationary cinder block is used to similar effect). Nichols simply lets the injustice do the talking.
I will say that Loving seems to feel different than any of Jeff Nichols other previous films. But it's still such skillful storytelling.
— Alex Billington (@firstshowing) May 16, 2016
Moved to tears by LOVING. Is there an American director in more command of the craft than Jeff Nichols right now? I don't think so. #Cannes
— Jesse Wente (@jessewente) May 16, 2016
— Gregory Ellwood (@TheGregoryE) May 16, 2016
Jeff Nichols' Loving: beautifully crafted, eschews grandstanding & cliche, Ruth Negga terrific. Quietly moving #Cannes2016
— Jamie Graham (@jamie_graham9) May 16, 2016
— Andreas Wiseman (@AndreasWiseman) May 16, 2016
Ruth Negga is put-a-bet-on-now tremendous in Jeff Nichols' crisp, elegant and deeply moving interracial marriage drama Loving #Cannes2016
— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) May 16, 2016
— Slant (@Slant_Magazine) May 16, 2016