Reading scripts. Absolutely critical to learn the craft of screenwriting. The focus of this weekly series is a deep structural and thematic analysis of each script we read.
Today: A scene-by-scene breakdown of the script for the 2016 movie Loving, written and directed by Jeff Nichols.
IMDb plot summary: The story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, whose challenge of their anti-miscegenation arrest for their marriage in Virginia led to a legal battle that would end at the US Supreme Court.
The scene-by-scene breakdown was prepared by Liz Correal.
Here is my take on this exercise from a previous series of posts — How To Read A Screenplay:
After a first pass, it's time to crack open the script for a deeper analysis and you can do that by creating a scene-by-scene breakdown. It is precisely what it sounds like: A list of all the scenes in the script accompanied by a brief description of the events that transpire.
For purposes of this exercise, I have a slightly different take on scene. Here I am looking not just for individual scenes per se, but a scene or set of scenes that comprise one event or a continuous piece of action. Admittedly this is subjective and there is no right or wrong, the point is simply to break down the script into a series of parts which you then can use dig into the script's structure and themes.
The value of this exercise:
- We pare down the story to its most constituent parts: Scenes.
- By doing this, we consciously explore the structure of the narrative.
- A scene-by-scene breakdown creates a foundation for even deeper analysis of the story.
You may download a free, legal PDF of the script for here.
Scene by Scene Breakdown
By Liz Correal
1) A single word, crickets, adds an atmospheric element as the two main characters, RICHARD, a white man and MILDRED, a black woman, are introduced while sitting on the porch of a farmhouse. Mildred displays nervousness before she delivers the life changing news of her pregnancy. Richard shows his contentment in a subdued way and as they hold hands and contemplate over the reality of a baby, a rumbling of thunder is heard and grows louder.
2) The idling engine of a Chevy drag car opens the scene. VIRGIL, a black driver revs the car and eyes up the competition, a white guy in a super-pimped ride. At the drop of a rag, they race. Richard and Mildred are part of a mixed race group supporting Virgil. Richard is excited at Virgil's performance. Mildred keeps company with her sister, GARNET.
The group celebrate as Virgil crosses the finish line first, although Richard is more concerned with the car's mechanical performance than the actual victory. Mildred runs to hug Richard as one of the group state they've won the race.
3) Virgil collects the winnings from the rival white group stumbling over his words as he compliments their vehicle. The disgruntled group of losers settle their attention on Richard and Mildred as they hug and kiss.
A4) An external view of a 'hillbilly' party in full swing at a rural shack with cars coming and going.
4) We join the party inside the shack, get a taste of the music being played and the atmosphere and the mix of races attending the celebration. The majority are black. Richard and Mildred are together. Virgil offers Mildred a drink but Garnet intercepts not allowing her to partake alcohol. Virgil takes Garnet to dance. Richard and Mildred watch. Its a happy and carefree scene.
5) Bricks are loaded with mortar and laid with precision — a careful labourer at work. Other workman comment on Richard's work speed telling him to slow down. He laughs at them, finishes his work and leaves the construction site.
6) In a country location, Richard measures out a piece of ground by using his feet. Mildred is with him in the field and now shows her extended pregnancy. Richard reveals he's purchased the field and plans to build them a home there, close to Mildred's family and the place she's lived all her life. While she is stunned at the news, Richard prepares to propose.
7) A heavily pregnant Mildred runs through a grove of trees
8) A group of people work in a tobacco field as dusk encroaches. Mildred rushes from the trees and across the field until she encounters Garnet, drags her from her work and pulls her away from the other workers.
9) Fireflies rising from the ground in the midst of the tree grove adds atmosphere as Mildred whispers the news to Garnet of Richard's proposal, the plan to marry before the baby is born and the purchase of the land for the house. Garnet worries Richard will take her sister from her until Mildred puts her mind at ease.
10) Chickens pecking at the ground lead into a small community of rural houses. Richard arrives and parks next to a rusty pick-up truck. LOLA, an older woman and Richard's momma, assists a heavily pregnant young white girl from a house. She tells him who he's looking for is out back. Richard assists the girl down the steps of the house, she thanks Lola as she's leaving and gets into the pick-up. Richard goes round the back of the house.
11) Inside of a wooden barn which has been converted into a garage, RAYMOND chews on a sandwich before he slides under a racing car. Richard asks how things are going and Raymond instructs him to get to work. After they've worked in silence for a while, Richard announces his intention to take Mildred to Washington DC to get married. They continue to work on the car's engine while Raymond digests the news. Raymond asks Richard if he'll need a witness. Richard declines the offering saying he's planning on asking Mildred's father to go with them.
Virgil joins them in the garage, picks up Raymond's sandwich and bites into it while Raymond delivers Richard's news. Virgil doesn't see the logic in Richard's marriage plans. Richard just smiles.
12) Richard and Mildred drive down an open highway. Music plays and Mildred's father, THEOLIVER, is in the back wearing a suit and hat. Mildred questions Richard on their possibility of being seen. He informs her he's called ahead. Theoliver states he thinks its a long drive. Mildred asks her father what the city is like. His answer is a shrug and a vague — its fine.
13) Mildred and Richard stand before a court magistrate. Richard slides a thin ring on her finger. Her large belly fills the altered church dress she wears. Theoliver is present behind them during the service. Richard and Mildred kiss when they are pronounced man and wife.
14) Back at Mildred's parents house, Garnet examines the wedding ring. Mildred's mother, MUSIEL, snaps beans at the table while Garnet vocalises her worries that Richard will take her sister away from her and her displeasure at not being involved in the ceremony. Mildred explains Richard's thinking about less red tape and admires her wedding band before placing a placating kiss on her sister's forehead. Garnet snaps beans.
A14) At Mildred's parents house, Richard works on the plans for their new home while Theoliver dozes in a chair. When Mildred decides to retire for the night, Richard asks her where she'd like the bedroom to be. She replies she would love it where ever he puts it.
15) Richard works laying bricks on the construction site.
16) Mildred and Garnet prepare bedding for the coming baby, feel its kicking in the womb.
17) Richard and Mildred shop in a local store. The Cashier, a black woman, notes the wedding ring on Mildred's finger. The store cashier shows her disapproval at Mildred and Richard's intimacy.
18) Mildred watches Richard and Raymond work on the race car.
19) Richard arrives home as Lola is dumping water in the yard. Richard is disturbed when she informs him the sheriff has been by the house looking for him.
20) We're shown a blank wall before Richard hammers a nail into it and hangs a picture frame from it. Their marriage certificate hangs on the wall, framed.
21) During a family dinner at Mildred's parent's house, cousins Gerald and Davies ask Richard how many races he's won. He attempts to count on his fingers but eventually replies with a vague — lots.
22, 23, 24) A quiet interlude of a warm, summer night, an icebox humming, Richard and Mildred sleeping peacefully together in their room.
25) Two police cars, lights off, parked on a roadway near Mildred's parent's house. Officers exit the cars and approach the house and enter without knocking.
26) Unannounced the police officers burst in on the sleeping couple and drag Richard from the bed. They order Mildred to get up and ask Richard what he was doing being in bed with her. Richard informs them she's his wife and indicates the certificate on the wall. The sheriff states its worthless and tells Richard to get dressed. Two officers jump on Richard when he tries to get his trousers. They hustle him out of the room, past Theoliver who doesn't say a word. The sheriff escorts Mildred out.
27) Richard and Mildred, now both handcuffed, are removed from separate police cars in the car park of the jailhouse. The Sheriff walks away as they're led inside.
28) A morbid description of the miserable conditions inside the jail as Mildred is lead into a single cell while Richard is taken further inside. He tries to reassure his wife, but she is frightened. She is Richard's main concern as he's un- cuffed and placed in a communal cell. Once inside, where he's unable to see Mildred, he shows signs of distress. He finds a quiet spot but doesn't take his eyes of Mildred's cell. Inside her cell, Mildred huddles and tries not to cry.
29) An exterior shot exposes the quietness of the town and a statue of a Confederate soldier which stands between the jail and the county courthouse.
30) Sunlight streaming into the cell shows night has passed. In the communal cell, Richard remains apart from the other men who are sprawled over the floor. The town comes to life as the sound of traffic drifts in. The jailer arrives and tell Richard he's made bail. Once out of the cell, Richard heads straight for where Mildred is being held, but the jailer detains him. Richard becomes distressed when he's told Mildred hasn't been granted bail.
31) Richard stumbles from the dark jailhouse and into the bright sunlight. The door slams closed behind him as the jailer leads him to the courthouse. The sheriff sips coffee and watches. Richard averts his gaze from the sheriff.
32) Richard asks about Mildred as he collects his personal belongings from a clerk. The clerk tells him he'll have to speak to the judge after the weekend.
33) Raymond waits for Richard outside the courthouse. They drive away without speaking.
34) Lola practises midwifery on the young white girl who visited her previously. Richard assists by carrying hot water.
35) After Richard empties a bucket, he joins Raymond on the porch. Fro there they observe people milling about amongst the houses. Raymond asks Richard what he's going to do. Richard answers with a question, wondering how the police knew he was with Mildred. Richard's gaze is fixed on the neighbours as the girl in the house screams with her labour pains.
36) Lola tidies up after the birth.
37) Richard smokes a cigarette on the porch, then paces as he attempts to understand the problem he's suffering. Lola watches him briefly through the porch door before going back to her work.
38) Mildred shows her discomfort at being cooped up in the cell. A fight breaks out in a nearby cell which adds to her unease.
39) Richard returns to the courthouse before the stated Monday to try and get Mildred released. The clerk informs him he'll have to speak with the judge. Richard asks if he can get a lawyer and he's told he can, but can't get her bail. He leaves frustrated but tries not to show it.
40) As Richard storms out of the courthouse, the sheriff calls him over to his office.
41) inside the sheriff's office, he bids Richard to sit down and asks if he's been trying to bail Mildred out again, When Richard answers in the affirmative, the sheriff tells Richard to get one of her own people to go as they won't release her to Richard. When Richard mentions Mildred's pregnancy, the sheriff attacks him with a load of narrow-minded racial taunts and says if Richard tries to bail her again he'll have him arrested.
42)Richard walks away from the courthouse, glances back at the jail.
43) A distracted Richard works laying bricks at a slower pace than normal.
44) Night-time and Richard is parked on the main street of Bowling Green. Lights off, he watches the jailhouse.
45) Daylight streaming through the bars finds Mildred sitting on the bed. A door rattles and the sheriff leads a prisoner in. The new inmate doesn't take his eyes off Mildred and the sheriff threatens to let him spend time with her later. Mildred retreats to the back of the cell.
The sheriff appears and unlocks her cell door. Mildred tries to blend into the wall. The sheriff stalls in telling her she's free to go as her father has posted bail. She bolts from the cell and down the stairs.
46) Mildred enters the courthouse to find her father waiting. She hugs him and cries.
47) Mildred stares out of the car window as Theoliver drives them through a countryside decked with summer splendour.
48) Garnet rushes out to greet her sister when they arrive at Mildred's parent's house. Mildred asks where Richard is. She's told he's moved his things out or he'll be arrested. Mildred continues to search for sight of him until Garnet drags her inside.
49) Richard emerges from Lola's house with stealth, checks no-one is watching him.
50) Richard moves through dark woodland.
A50) Richard hides on the woodland edge, surveys a road in the distance. Ducks away from the view of a passing car. Once the car has past, he sprints across the road and back under cover.
51) Richard exits the woods near to Mildred's parent's house. Once he's checked out the terrain is clear, he slips into the house.
52) Inside the house is quiet, Richard treads with care but his steps creak on the boards.
53) Mildred sits up as the bedroom door opens. Richard calls to her quietly from the door using her pet name. He moves fast to hug her as she cries. She tells him she's fine but was scared. He comforts her and caresses her belly. They begin to discuss what they can do. Richard tells her he's got the best lawyer in the county, but they'll need to keep to themselves until the situation blows over. They kiss, but Richard decides he should go. Mildred holds him tighter and they lay down on the bed together. They stay that way for some time.
54) Richard sneaks out of Mildred's room but Garnet knows he's there and stares at him hard as he makes to leave.
55) The couple, dressed for court, are in their lawyers office. Frank Beazley, their lawyer, tells them he's already met with the judge on their case and although the judge doesn't like their situation, he'll suspend any prison sentences if they plead guilty. The lawyer states he thinks this to be a fair decision. Richard and Mildred are relieved at this outcome until he gives them the news that they must dissolve their marriage or leave the state. They're both stunned when he says they must leave for twenty-five years. He tries to soften the news by reminding them about the prison sentence which they might received and asks them which is best, prison or leaving the state. Richard can't look at Mildred.
56) Frank leads the couple from his office, across the main street to the courtroom. He advises them not to speak unless directly spoken too. Mildred doesn't look at Richard.
57) The couple and their lawyer sit before the judge in the county courthouse as the court secretary reads the charges aloud. The judge asks them to stand and how they plead. They both plead guilty as charged. The judge then delivers the sentence of imprisonment unless they leave the state. They're asked if they have anything to say and both reply in the negative. They're instructed to settle the court costs and leave.
58) The clerk charges them for the proceedings. Richard pays.
59) Richard loads the car with luggage while Mildred explains contact numbers she's written down to her parents. They begin a tearful farewell which is interrupted by Garnet expressing her anger at Richard taking her sister away. Garnet storms inside while their parents remain on the porch to watch them leave.
60) The leaves of an oak tree are stirred as the couple's car drives by.
61) The silence of the countryside is replaced by the noise of the city when Mildred opens the car window. From her pov — the neighbourhood to which they are moving unfolds. Poor, predominantly black, downtown Washington DC. Mildred takes Richard's hand without taking her eyes of what she's seeing through the window.
62) Mildred focuses on a young tree outside the terrace house where they'll be staying. Richard unties the luggage from the roof of the car. LAURA comes out of the house to greet them, hugs Mildred who then introduces Richard.
63) The couple lie on a bed in a small but comfortable room. Richard sleeps but Mildred is awake listening to the sounds of the city.
64) Mildred's cousins go about their normal morning routine, she drinks juice. Richard enters and says he leaving for work. She follows him from the kitchen.
65) Richard bids goodbye to Mildred at the front of the house but is reluctant to leave her. Mildred stays on the porch until his car is out of sight.
66) Richard works with some of his regular crew in a residential area.
67) Mildred purchases groceries. She's overwhelmed by her advancing pregnancy and the situation she's in.
68) The passage of time is shown, by the colour of an autumn sky and the turn of leaves on the small tree, as Richard gets out of the car in front of the city house.
69) A TV station shows news of the space probe, Pioneer 1. Mildred's pregnancy is now full term. Richard is concerned by his wife's listless despondency.
70) While they rest in bed, Mildred expresses her upset that Lola now won't be able to deliver the baby. Richard understands her worries and begins to think about the problem.
71) Richard helps Mildred into the back seat of a car. Hands her a blanket. After stowing a case in the trunk, he drives them away from the cousin's house in DC.
72) Richard drives nervously down a dark highway. Mildred, in the back, is hidden by the blanket.
73) They park on the side of the road. Richard kills the lights. They wait. Cars rush past. One speeds by then u-turns back. Its Raymond in his car. Mildred is transferred to Raymond's car. Richard watches the taillights as they drive away.
74) Raymond's car is on the drive of Lola's house. Richard parks his round in the barn out of sight then sneaks into his mother's house.
75) All the family are re-united at Lola's house, including Mildred's parents. Garnet thanks Richard for bringing Mildred back for the birth, Lola gives her warm stout to drink.
76) Richard is outside working on one of the race cars when Garnet calls him to go in. He hurries inside.
77) Garnet and Lola help Mildred onto a bed after her waters break. Richard grabs a bucket and runs from the room.
78) Richard holds Mildred's hand as she labours. Lola times the contractions by tapping her foot. Instructs Mildred when to push.
79) Richard smokes a quiet cigarette on the porch as Lola empties a bucket. He thanks her. She replies by telling him he should never have married Mildred. Richard says he thought Lola liked Mildred and she agrees that she does, but it doesn't mean she thinks he should have married her.
80) Garnet holds the new baby, named Sidney while the new parents look on. Mildred's mother is also there. Two police cars arrive at the front of the house. Richard tells Mildred to call their lawyer, but she doesn't move.
81) Richard goes out to face the Sheriff who tells him to bring Mildred out. When Richard denies she's inside, the Sheriff threatens to arrest everyone there.
82) Mildred hands the baby to Garnet, puts on her coat and goes outside. Lola watches without comment.
83) Mildred walks from the house and straight to the waiting police car, the deputy opens the back door and she gets in without looking at or speaking to Richard. The Sheriff stares Richard down and he gets into the back of the other car.
84) As they drive along, the deputy tells Mildred its her lucky day as the Judge is in office that day and she won't have to wait. She just nods.
85) The couple stand before the judge's desk. As the judge vocalizes a breach of parole order, Frank, the lawyer rushes in. Frank tells the judge he gave the couple the wrong information and that he'd said they would be allowed to return home for the birth. The judge repents, believing Frank.
86) Outside the courthouse, Richard thanks Frank who warns him not to come back again or they'll end up in prison. He leaves them and they stand alone in front of the courthouse.
87) Back in DC and its Winter. The tree in front of the cousin's house is bare of leaves.
88) Mildred irons clothes while she carries Sidney on her hip.
89) Richard works at laying bricks in the snow.
90) The tree outside the cousin's house is shown as covered in green leaves. It stands along side a box fan fighting summer heat. Sidney, now two years old, plays on the sidewalk with Richard. Mildred exits the house carrying another baby, Donald and bottle feeds him.
91) A four year old Sydney is chased by a two year old Donald into their bedroom. As they misbehave by bouncing on the bed, a once more visibly pregnant Mildred comes in to read them a story and put them to bed.
92) in the chaos of a family house — Mildred spoon feeds Peggy, a baby girl in a high chair, when the doorbell rings. After chastising the boy children for their wild behaviour, she opens the door to find Garnet there. They hug, emotional at the unexpected reunion.
93) Mildred and Garnet catch up on family news as the boys run riot.
94) Surrounded by her children, Mildred watches Garnet drive away.
95) A family evening for Richard and Mildred with the children. He asks how Garnet's visit went, but she doesn't answer.
96) Mildred brushes the hair of two year old Peggy while watching the news of the civil rights march of 1963 on the TV. Laura enters with groceries and they discuss the march. Laura suggests Mildred write a letter to Bobby Kennedy because she needs some civil rights. Mildred's gaze fixes on the TV images.
97) The noise of the march is heard in the distance from the outside of the cousin's house.
98) Mildred begins to pen the letter.
99) Richard arrives home from work exhausted, asks about the children and then he and Mildred pass a quiet evening together.
100) A three year old Peggy plays with her brothers. Mildred is asking for Sydney's help with some chores when she receives a phone call.
101) Mildred takes the call from a lawyer named BERNIE COHEN who explains he was referred to her by Kennedy, is from the ACLU and would like to take on her case. Mildred is shocked to find there will be no fee for his services. They arrange to set up the preliminary meeting.
102) Mildred tells a sceptical Richard about the call from the ACLU lawyer. He finds it difficult to absorb the news that someone is prepared to help them.
103) A smartly dressed Bernie Cohen enters the offices of a law firm.
104) Bernie explains to a secretary he's borrowing another lawyer's office for a few hours. She points him in the right direction. He asks her to send his clients down when they arrive. He changes the name plate on the office door.
105) Bernie removes the other lawyers family photos from the desk. He sits at the desk and bids the Lovings to enter when they knock. They shake hands. Bernie explains the procedures he's undertaken on their behalf and that he wants to take the swiftest route to Federal Court which shocks Richard. The couple are even more astounded when Bernie states the possibility their case may go as far as the Supreme Courts. He suggests to get things moving that they might consider returning home and getting re-arrested so they can make an appeal against the decision. He tries to reassure Mildred he will be there to bail them both out. Richard states he's not going to do it. Bernie is understanding of their reticence but promises to help in any way he can. After they leave, Bernie displays displeasure at his bad performance.
106) After the meeting, Richard hurries to the car leaving Mildred a few paces behind. He starts the car and just sits there. Mildred takes her time. The car pulls out of the lot.
107) They ride in silence a while before Mildred comments about accepting the ACLU's help if it gets them home. Richard is more cynical ad says you get what you pay for.
108) Richard is on a construction site. He stares up at a building in progress. Climbs the scaffolding.
109) A boisterous Sydney, now six, runs down the street followed by Donald. A car hoots at them.
110) Richard has climbed four stories. A rope creaks as it runs through pulleys.
111) Donald and Sydney play baseball with a group of kids on a street lined with cars. A boy hits the ball hard and it bounces onto an intersecting street. Donald sets chase.
112) Richard takes a rest in his scaffold climb. A pallet being hauled up on the pulley slips, bricks crash before its righted and its ascent recommences. Richard begins to climb again.
113) Sydney watches as Donald is struck by a passing truck.
114) Sydney runs through the neighbourhood.
115) His distressed calling outside the house causes Mildred to drop her chores, grab Peggy and rush out.
116) Richard arrives home from work as the sunsets.
117) He enters the house to find it in darkness, suitcases and boxes by the stairs. He calls out then rushes to find Mildred in the children's bedroom.
118) Mildred cares for the injured Donald, explains what happened then leaves the room. Richard checks the boy over. When Richard finds Mildred sitting on the front room couch she tells him they are moving back to the country. After a pause, he walks over sits down and puts his arm around her.
119) Mildred's car is loaded bags and children. The couple say their goodbyes to the Washington family before they drive away in separate cars.
120) Richard's car arrives at a boarding house watched by a young black boy and his grandmother who are sat on the porch.
121) The boy spies on Richard as he enters via the back door ad goes upstairs. He watches Richard knock on a door, sees Mildred open it and the kids bouncing on the bed inside the room.
122) The Lovings children play with the boy in the fields around the boarding house.
123) The couple receive a visit from Raymond and while Richard watches the children play through the window, they discuss renting a house and their safety at the boarding house. Although the hose is out of the county, its close and a fair rental price.
124) They drive to see the new house in separate cars. Its perfect.
125) They move in. Richard enjoys Mildred's pleasure at the new location and the fact its got good visibility in all directions. He unloads luggage.
126) Richard departs for work while Mildred pens a letter to the lawyer saying they've given up hope as they haven't heard from him.
127) Bernie reads Mildred's letter and decides to try and set up a meeting with Chet Antieau.
128) A secretary interrupts a meeting between Chet and civil rights lawyer, Phil Hirschkop. Bernie is shown into the room. Bernie explains the Lovings case to them and admits he needs help.
129) Bernie and Phil stroll through the university campus discussing the case in depth. Phil says that although he's leaving, he'll draw up a draft case. He asks Bernie if he realises the case might change the US constitution. Bernie admits he does. They arrange a future contact.
130) Lola and Mildred are baking in the humid kitchen when Peggy drags Lola outside.
131) Richard works up a ladder on an outbuilding while Peggy shows Lola the play teatime she's made for her dolls. From his high vantage point, he spots Raymond's car racing toward the house. He slides down and ushers them into the house before he runs to meet his friend. Raymond delivers the message that their lawyer has called and wants to meet up. Shaken, Richard asks Raymond why he was driving so fast.
132) The Lovings are in Bernie's office with Phil in attendance. He reads a ruling made by the judge and tells them by issuing it the judge has given them a road to the Supreme Court. He then asks them to do a photo spread in Life magazine to up the profile of their case.
133) Richard is working with a car engine when a stranger walks up the drive and introduces himself as a photographer for Life. They chat about the engine before the photographer, GREY, goes in search of Mildred. He enters the house with Mildred. Richard smiles thinking the man odd.
134) Grey tells stories at the Lovings dinner table making everyone laugh.
135) Grey begins the photo shoot with Mildred in the kitchen. He chats to her about the following days court hearing, asks is he expects to lose before he snaps a photo.
136) Grey takes a sly shot of the couple in an intimate moment.
137) The Lovings walk out of the Supreme Court building. News reporters are on the sidewalk, Phil advises them to answer some questions. A reporter asks how Mildred feels about losing the case to which she replies she feels hopeful. Bernie, who is being interviewed by different reporters, stops the couple and tells them to get in touch if they have any problem or are arrested again. After the leave, Phil tells Bernie they might be able to get them out if they do get arrested.
138) Richard works at laying bricks on a power station site. He works steadily.
139) Richard finds someone has thrown a brick through his car window. Around it is wrapped a copy of the Life report. He stuffs the paper in his pocket and throws the brick away.
140) Richard is pursued by a truck as he's driving home.
141) Richard's car races down to the drive. He leaps out and runs into the house calling for Sydney. He sends his now eight year old son to a neighbours house to phone Raymond and tell him to bring a gun. Richard remains staring at a distant line of trees after he tells Mildred everything is fine.
142) Richard maintains watch on the porch until Raymond arrives.
143) Richard and Raymond smoke on the porch while they discuss the earlier appearance of the truck.
144) A curious Peggy watches an engineer install a phone in their house and asks Mildred who are they going to call.
145) Garnet, now pregnant arrives with Mildred's mother for a visit.
146) Richard arrives home to find a van parked in his drive.
147) He enters the house to find Mildred being interviewed by a film crew. He asks her to go outside.
148) Mildred disagrees with Richard over the film crew. She's of the opinion they want to help, he's not.
149) Mildred continues the interview. Richard sits in the room but is uncomfortable.
150) Richard at his buddies are at a drag race event.
151) At a shack party after the racing, Virgil discusses race issues with Richard and tells him he should divorce Mildred. Richard is not impressed.
152) An inebriated Richard wakes Mildred to insist he can take care of her.
153) Richard exits the house in an overcoat.
154) A black Lincoln car is parked in the wintry yard.
155) Richard carries wood into a kitchen where Phil and Bernie drink coffee. Bernie imparts the news that the Supreme Courts have decided to hear their case. While Mildred is ecstatic at the news, Richard is more cynical and asks what Virginia's defence will be. Bernie states he thinks they will concentrate on the children and tells them they will be able to attend the hearing. Richard declines to go and Mildred won't go without him.
156) As Richard smokes a cigarette on the porch, Bernie attempts to persuade him to attend the hearing. Even knowing it will be a historic case, he continues to decline. Bernie asks if he'd like to tell the judge anything. Richard does — he just wants the judge to know he loves his wife.
157) Richard arrives at his job on a spring morning.
158) Bernie and Phil arrive outside the Supreme Court buildings. They're nervous, but determined.
159) Mildred sews at a machine.
160) Phil begins his presentation to the court.
161) Watched by Richard, the Loving children play freely in the yard while Phil's hearing presentation continues in voice over.
162) The family go about their daily habits in the kitchen while the voice over continues.
163) Mildred puts the children to bed.
164) Mildred and Richard retire for the night.
165) Its summer, the oak tree is in full leaf, Richard sweats as he works on a car.
166) Mildred is doing household chores when the phone rings. She doesn't rush to answer.
167) Through interference on the line, Mildred hears the lawyers cheering. She says she understands before she hangs up and contemplates the moment.
168) Mildred goes outside to find Richard where he's playing in the yard with the kids. They share a smile.
169) Mildred and Richard are surrounded by the press in Bernie's office. The press question them on their sentiments. Richard replies by wrapping his arm around Mildred's neck.
170) Sydney and Donald watch Richard lay bricks. Under a blue sky, Peggy runs across the field where Richard first proposed to Mildred and hands it to him where he stands, in the foundations of their new home.
Text is scrolled across the final image updating the story with the facts that the case of Loving v Virginia made the prohibition of marriage based on race unconstitutional.
The text informs of Richard's unfortunate death seven years after the court hearing. And how, when Mildred was interviewed shortly before her demise, she said — she missed him. He took care of her.
Writing Exercise: I encourage you to read the script, but short of that, if you've seen the movie, go through this scene-by-scene breakdown. What stands out to you about it from a structural standpoint? Click on RESPONSE and let us hear your thoughts.
If you'd like to download a PDF of the scene-by-scene breakdown of Loving, click here.
Major kudos to Liz Correal for doing today's breakdown.
For those folks who volunteer to write a scene-by-scene breakdown, beyond your name being noted here, my thanks, and your own personal dose of creative juju, you will learn something about story structure and further develop this important skill set.
Here is our current list of literary heroes and heroines!
A Monster Calls / Andrew Turner
Anthropoid / Marija Nielsen
Arrival / Ashish Chand
Captain Fantastic / Despina Karintis
Denial / Gina Gomez
Eye in the Skye / Abhinav Tiwari and Bruce Gordon
Fences / Matt Cowley
The Founder / Eric Rodriguez
Hail, Caesar! / Brianne VanTuyle
Hell or High Water / Andrew Lightfoot
The Invitation / Joni Trumpold Brainerd
Jackie / Karen Dantas
Kubo and the Two Strings / Nikki Syreeta
La La Land / Priya Gopal
Loving / Liz Correal
Maggie's Plan / Monique Mata
Manchester by the Sea / Ashley Lara
Miles Ahead / Alecia Hodges
Moonlight / Ryan Canty
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 / Nikki Leydecker
The Secret Life of Pets / Paul Huffman
Victor Frankenstein / Lisa Gomez
Zootopia / Will King
Italics = Turned in scene-by-scene breakdown
Bold = Have used scene-by-scene breakdown in week-long analysis
To check out the site's library of 48 movie script scene-by-scene breakdowns, click here.
Now is YOUR chance to contribute to this most worthy cause and provide an additional resource for the online screenwriting community.
Even if you do not participate in the analysis, discussion, or write up a scene-by-scene breakdown, I strongly encourage you to read scripts. It's an invaluable learning tool.
Script Analysis: "Loving" — Scene By Scene Breakdown was originally published in Go Into The Story on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.