"It was an emotional night," says Jeff Nichols, recalling the North American premiere of his new movie Loving at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. After the screen faded to black, the director, who hadn't seen the early Oscar contender since Cannes in May, remembers wiping away a tear before rising to thank the audience, which gave it a standing ovation. Based on a true story, Loving chronicles the relationship of Richard and Mildred Loving (played by Joel Edgerton and newcomer Ruth Negga), an interracial couple who married in Virginia during the civil rights movement. After the pair wed, they were arrested and brought before the U.S. Supreme Court for what was then considered a crime. Their 1967 landmark case, Loving v. Virginia, eventually proved essential in the battle for same-sex marriage, a connection that isn't lost on Nichols. "The LGBT community is burdened with the same absurdity the interracial community faces," he says. "When you're talking about a couple -- man-woman, man-man, woman-woman, white man-black woman, whatever it is -- you need to ask, 'Do these two people love each other?' It is not the government's business to legislate that."
Loving will be released in select theaters on November 4.
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