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Film Review: Freeheld


Film Review: Freeheld

Georgina Cunningham

With the Supreme Court of the United States recent ruling on same sex marriage, there is no better time to tell the story of inequality in the LGBTI community. It is inequality that makes Julianne Moore’s character Laurel Hester fight for the rights to give her pension from the law force to her partner Stacee Andree, (Ellen Page) a mechanic quite a few years her junior. After her bid for equal rights is rejected by five republican freeholders, Laurel is thrown into a world of protests and fights for LGBTI rights, becoming the face of a campaign. Directed by Peter Sollett and based on a true story, in the early 2000s around the Oscar-winning short documentary, Freeheld is the perfect story to promote equality in LGBTI communities. What starts as a progressive love story with all the awkward moments you would expect turns into a fight for justice for Lauren and Stacee.

Beginning as a romantic love story between the two main characters, the film shed light on the homophobia in the police force and around New Jersey. The film makes a sudden shift when Laurel is diagnosed with lung cancer. In order to lighten the weight on the audience’s shoulders, comic relief is delivered in the form of Steve Carrell as a Jewish gay man with an agenda for progress in the United States. Michael Shannon’s performance as Laurel’s police partner is top notch. This man can do no wrong. His performance is raw, honest and relatable to many of us who want to see equality for the ones they love in the LGBTI community.

Just when the film gets to the meat of the campaign, the struggle for Laurel and Stacee is tested when Laurel's health makes a turn for the worst. This story is not only about the progress of LGBTI rights, but about the suffering of two people in love. It is gut wrenching, witty and at times very real. This film is an emotional roller coaster with plenty of surprises and ethical debates to keep the audience guessing. There isn't much to hate about this film, characters are easy to sympathise with and audience hearts are won. It is a great love story that everyone can relate to no matter of gender or sexuality. 

Freeheld is in cinemas now around Adelaide and Australia. 

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