In 1964, a lawsuit involving Virginia couple Richard and Mildred Loving helped to overturn the state's ban on interracial marriage and eventually led to the Supreme Court's defining marriage as a human right. In the decades that followed, their struggle was recognized as a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement and now, more than 50 years later, a new biopic from "Midnight Special" director Jeff Nichols is helping to tell their story. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival this week to high praise from international press. Here are five things you need to know:
1. Early praise for the film is leading many critics to talk about its Oscar potential. The New York Times has a good roundup of what's being said about the importance of the film.
2. But director Jeff Nichols says that part of his intentions with the film are to explore the human beings behind the famous court case. In an interview with Deadline he says:
"I think when you’re talking about marriage equality and race, people very quickly start to get into their political corners, their ideology comes to the forefront and they get into this platform argument that they’re used to making, which really doesn’t have anything to do with the day-to-day basics of what is being talked about. The Lovings are the day-to-day. They’re the ones that are getting up for breakfast, and going to bed at night, and trying to stay together. When you look at the two of them, it’s not a debate any longer. How could you possibly debate against that relationship?"
3. This is not the Lovings' first time on the screen. In 2012, an HBO documentary won high praise from critics and, as The New York Times notes, was part of the inspiration for this newest film. There was also a 1996 TV movie called "Mr. and Mrs. Loving" starring Timothy Hutton.
4. The Lovings' story doesn't necessarily have a happy ending. As Style Weekly explored in a 2004 cover story, the landmark court case put the private couple in the public eye in a way that produced ramifications beyond what they expected.
5. Want to see more about the "Loving" movie? Check out more photos and articles over at the film's IMDB page, as well as a teaser clip below: