Freeheld: Film Review

freeheld

Freeheld has been out in America for a long time and the reviews haven’t been that great but I had still been keen to watch it. I’m glad it is finally in cinemas here so people can learn about this important story in LGBT rights history.

Julianne Moore is Laurel, a detective in New Jersey who has kept her homosexuality to herself for years due to fears she won’t receive the same opportunities. She meets the much younger Stacie (Ellen Page) at a volleyball match and they begin dating. Years later, in 2005, after they have bought a shared house and entered a domestic partnership, Laurel is diagnosed with late-stage cancer. She wants Stacie to receive her publicly-funded pension, but county freeholders refuse to allow it because she is not in a conventional marriage.

This sounds like a very small piece of LGBT rights history but it is an example of the basic rights homosexuals were denied simply because they were not allowed to be legally married like a man and a woman. The injustice is overwhelming and made me so angry and emotional. The inequality is infuriating.

Moore was obviously fantastic, but following on from Still Alice, it would be nice to see her not playing somebody who is dying or deteriorating. But this is Page’s film. This is her best performance yet but it so subtle and vulnerable. I just wanted to give her a hug. Equally brilliant and pivotal is Michael Shannon as Laurel’s work partner and the first straight male to stand up for them. Steve Carell provides comic relief as an overzealous gay Jewish equal rights campaigner who turns Laurel’s meetings into a media circus to pressure freeholders into agreeing to the pension.

Most critics have criticised the story while praising the actors, and I can see where they are coming from. Their relationship is rushed so you aren’t too invested in it until the cancer bombshell. Their characters weren’t fleshed out as much as they could be, and it did have some TV movie vibes, but I still enjoyed it. None of those issues stopped me from blubbing like a baby! It is an incredibly important and emotional story and even though it is not told in the perfect way, it is still worth a watch.

In cinemas now 

Comments

  1. Can’t read as it’s in my queue, but I will share this post so I can come back to it!

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