When I was a kid, Oscar season was one of my favorite times of year. I grew up, for the most part, in Alaska’s panhandle — a profoundly isolated places. So the local theaters (two, with four screens between them) brought the world to me.
Things have changed. ‘Peak television’ is here. Netflix and Amazon Prime offer year-round prestige. And let’s face it, I’m older now, and my couch and flat screen almost always seem more appealing than leaving my house for a grimy cineplex.
But when I watch the trailer for “Loving,” I get that forgotten feeling that this is a movie that matters now, and waiting six-month to rent it at Blockbuster (err, on demand) won’t cut it. This is a new release with the potential to impact the zeitgeist in a way we haven’t seen since I don’t know when. It tells the story behind landmark 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia, in which an interracial couple fought for their right to, well, love (for a history lesson, read the ACLU’s primary).
“I know we have some enemies, but we have some friends too,” Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga says in the trailer.”We may lose the small battles, but win the big war.”
These are words that resonate in the present. Our picture of a diverse, broadly tolerant America has been shaken. Hard. Yet I think we can take heart in this reminder that the journey toward progress has always been marred by episodes of ugliness. It’s how we respond to tests like today’s that will define us.