A week and a half ago my husband and I went to see the movie “Freeheld”.
There were two main reasons I wanted to see this movie. The first is obvious, I’m a gay man and the film is about LGBT rights. I think it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come in such a short period of time and how important it is not to take that progress for granted. The second reason is that I absolutely adore Julianne Moore. I was over the moon when she finally won her Oscar for “Still Alice” earlier this year (check out my blog on that movie: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/still-alice/) and I’m thrilled that she’s followed up that fantastic performance with another strong role.
The film is the true story of Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) a very successful but closeted cop in New Jersey who falls in love with a much younger woman, Stacie (Ellen Page).
When Laurel is diagnosed with cancer she wants her well earned pension to go to her partner. Yet, despite the fact New Jersey has just passed a domestic partnership law the county she works for is not required to grant them the same benefits as they would to a heterosexual couple. As Laurel’s health continues to decline it is a race against time to fight the unjust ruling.
The film is filled with great performances. Julianne Moore is fantastic, as she always is. Ellen Page really impressed me. I think coming out of the closet has done wonders for her craft. Never before has she seemed so relaxed and comfortable on camera before. Steve Carrell provides some much needed comic relief.
As much as some might consider his performance a little over the top I found it much more believable and natural than his Oscar nominated work in “Foxcatcher” where it was so clear he was trying to ACT with a capital A (check out my review of that film: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/foxcatcher/
). Michael Shannon and Josh Charles are both very good in roles that show how for most people right vs. wrong lies in shades of grey rather than in black and white.
The strength of “Freeheld” lies in the performances and they are all strong. I highly recommend seeing “Freeheld” in the theatre for anybody who likes movies about social issues, well made grown up films and/or the actors involved.