Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton deliver remarkably nuanced performances in Loving, a late ‘50s/early ‘60s-set true life story of a mixed race couple who’s illegal marriage became a landmark case in the United States supreme court. Having tried his hand at the coming-of-age drama (Mud) and both small and large-scale science fiction (Take Shelter and Midnight Special, respectively), the increasingly prolific Jeff Nichols branches out once more here to the awards season period drama. This heartwarming and wonderfully refined film might not do a whole lot of things we haven’t seen before in the civil rights era picture, but it does the familiar stuff with enormous care and control.

As they say about these sorts of things: you just couldn’t write it. In June 1958 at the age of 18, Mildred Delores Jeter – of African American and Native American descent – became pregnant with the child of Richard Loving, a 24-year-old white man. Nichols picks up their story from here. Wishing to legitimize their child, the young lovers left their home state of Virginia – where mixed race marriage was illegal – and traveled to Washington D.C. to elope.

Our full Cannes review of Loving.