Freeheld (2015)

Freeheld (2015)

GENRESBiography,Drama,Romance
LANGEnglish
ACTOR
Julianne MooreElliot PageSteve CarellMichael Shannon
DIRECTOR
Peter Sollett

SYNOPSICS

Freeheld (2015) is a English movie. Peter Sollett has directed this movie. Julianne Moore,Elliot Page,Steve Carell,Michael Shannon are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2015. Freeheld (2015) is considered one of the best Biography,Drama,Romance movie in India and around the world.

New Jersey police lieutenant, Laurel Hester, and her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree, both battle to secure Hester's pension benefits when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Freeheld (2015) Reviews

  • Freeholding the human interest from shining through courtroom theatrics

    StevePulaski2015-10-19

    While Julianne Moore needs to find more roles outside of playing older women that audiences passively watch deteriorate physically and mentally, she's so engrossing in such roles and sympathetic without being pitiable that there are no other actresses I would rather see in such roles. After completely commanding the screen with a heartbreaking, true-to-life performance in "Still Alice," Moore returns with an equally devastating performance in "Freeheld," concerning a veteran detective named Laurel Hester, who is dying from terminal lung cancer with her dying wish that her pension be granted to her same-sex partner. Under New Jersey Domestic Partnership Law, however, this request cannot be granted to state employees and Laurel's appeal is scrapped by the ruling of five state freeholders. As Laurel becomes increasingly sicker, her partner Stacie Andree (Ellen Page), a significantly younger woman who works as a car mechanic, tries to manage her increasingly difficult treatments. Meanwhile, Laurel's longtime detective partner Dane Wells (Michael Shannon) works to help further Laurel's case by showing up at the town hall meetings where the freeholders are present, in addition to accepting the services of Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell), a flamboyant, Jewish gay rights activist who serves as the chairman for Garden State Equality. Goldstein winds up turning the town hall meetings into Kabuki Theater of sorts with loud protesters attempting to change the mind of the five representatives that are holding Laurel and her wishes back. Moore and Page both give tender performances here, and their time together on-screen makes up some of the film's most endearing moments. They embody everything about a couple that one can easily get the wrong idea about, with their simple request becoming a national issue and spawning all kinds of domestic controversy that ostensibly stems from their desire to be noticed. It's easy to think this in theory, but seeing the film unfold shows that was the furthest thing from their agenda; this is a couple that wanted to live their lives and go through their days without any sort of hassle. They didn't want explosive levels of fame; they just wanted to live their lives and Laurel wanted her love to be taken care of financially when she died. Screenwriter Ron Nyswaner is a bit too giddy to get to the meat of Laurel and Stacie's story, which results in a film that too quickly gets wrapped up in legal proceedings and courtroom altercations. Because of this, the true heart and reason for the story - Laurel and Stacie's relationship - gets lost in a sea of colorful theatrics and fragrant displays of powerful monologues and montages. In an age where good, mainstream films about gay rights and gay characters are difficult to come by, it seems unfortunate that "Freeheld" gets so wrapped up in colorful and overextended displays of courtroom drama that is sacrifices its main characters and their relationship with one another. In addition, "Freeheld" is fairly standard Lifetime Network fare, encapsulated by a daunting and thoroughly overbearing score that hits every emotional scene to the point where pathos are artificially communicated rather than naturally felt. The important, topical subject matter at hand and the unanimously strong performances work to distract from that fact, but the unnatural amount of emotional manipulation prevails. As stated, Moore is a heartbreakingly real character here, and Page, who is by her character's side through every step, while strong in the more emotional scenes, doesn't really have much character to rely on here. The standout alongside Moore is Michael Shannon, who is destined to get the shaft here though he deserves to share the stardom. His seriousness and commitment to Moore's Laurel never feels like the "white knight" hero nor a bid for self-importance. Per usual, Shannon plays a real and fascinating character. "Freeheld," despite its convincing performances and significant story that really transcends politics to become a human issue, unfortunately shifts its focus on the characters for a perfunctory and predictable rehash of courtroom theatrics that cloak the human interest aspect, as a result. It's the kind of film that really makes you hope the actors got paid more than the screenwriter at hand, for their commitment and talents shine through the unfortunately bland writing.

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  • 6.5/10

    James_De_Bello2015-11-09

    Even though it treads a lot, and I mean it, a lot of ground that has been covered by countless films before, especially recently, "Freeheld" is a well-crafted film that has committed and passionate work behind it that manage to make it come through a lot more than it could have in many other situations. I am baffled by Juliane Moore honestly, that is the first and only thing that comes off the top of my head thinking of the film. She is so talented it is ridiculous. Because even if this is a performance that we have seen so many times before, even by Moore herself last year, she still manages to make it fu**ing interesting, new and genuine. This actress is a legend really. Right from her way of moving on screen she just lives and breathes the characters she is given and makes them so much more of what is on paper, which is also the main reason this film succeeds. Because the film does recycle a lot. Both in ideas and style. It fits right into the streak of true story films that we have had in recent years and doesn't really emerge. It doesn't have a personal stamp, it doesn't really say anything special or new and what it says it really throws in your face without space for a more subtle or emotional narrative. As always with true story movies it gets deep into manipulating your emotions by pulling very, very easy heartstrings and doesn't make an attempt at trying to make a movie first before a recounting of the true story. Yet, you feel that much of it, despite being standard, is truly heartfelt by the cast. Micheal Shannon is really, really good, Ellen Page doesn't always find her place on screen, but still manages to come off as the very good actress she is. So in the end what we have is something that excites and moves in a way too conventional and seen-before way, that comes off as a pleasant experience thanks to its actors' commitment. I will never, ever watch this film again, but I will also never regret having seen it.

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  • One Story of Many

    ferguson-62015-10-02

    Greetings again from the darkness. A touching story based on the struggles of two people in love … that description fits, but leaves out the crucial details that make the saga of Laurel and Stacie so poignant and important. Laurel Hester was an Ocean County, New Jersey police officer who, like most non-heterosexual people of the era, went to extremes to conceal that part of her life for fear of personal and professional reprisals. We catch up with Laurel (Julianne Moore) and her police partner Dane Wells (Michael Shannon) while on a drug bust in 2002. This scene is meant to quickly establish that Laurel is an excellent cop who is fully trusted by other cops. Soon after, we find Laurel and her god-awful volleyball skills flirting with Stacie (Ellen Page), a much younger auto mechanic. The two strike up a romance that leads to buying a house and jumping through the legal hoops required under the Domestic Partnership Act. When Laurel is diagnosed with late stage lung cancer, the battle for her pension benefits begins as she goes up against the Freeholders who control Ocean County. While Stacie holds out hope for a cure and full recovery, Gay activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell) swoops in to generate media attention through protests and chants against the County. His cause is Gay marriage, while Laurel simply wants equality. It's an odd differentiation that the movie dwells on, but never quite explains. A significant social issue, a stroll on the beach, a pet dog, and a terminal illness … this sounds like the TV Guide synopsis of the latest Lifetime Channel movie. Perhaps that was the goal of screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia, 1993), whose next movie is a sex-change love story. Fortunately, the extremely talented cast elevates the material to an emotional level that allows viewers to connect. Those opposed to the issue include the macho cops from Laurel's own squad room, and the ultra-conservative faction on the County board – who predictably runs and hides when the conflict reaches its peak. Julianne Moore and Ellen Page do outstanding work in allowing us to accept a romance that at times looks more like a mother/daughter relationship due to the age difference. Humor is injected with a rare drywall joke and possibly the first ever on screen tire-rotation contest. However, this isn't a story for laughs. Rather, director Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, 2008) shows one of the many personal stories that have led to the legal authorization of gay marriage and rights. We view this acceptance through the eyes of Laurel's partner Dane, and Michael Shannon's low key performance prevents the role from being too clichéd. The film suffers a bit with Steve Carell's over-the-top portrayal of the over-the-top Goldstein, but it does ring true in that desperate times call for desperate measures. Certainly the film suffers from technical and script issues, yet the true story and the emotional subject matter, along with the fine performances, provide a clear look and reminder of some of the obstacles faced by good people over the years. Be sure to watch the closing credits for photographs of the real Laurel, Stacie, Dane and Goldstein – each (except Laurel, of course) have cameos in the film.

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  • Come for Moore but Sadly Nothing Else!

    ClaytonDavis2015-09-19

    In a time when our nation is going through some the most progressive and long overdue changes in history, a film as timely as "Freeheld" would be welcomed with open arms and minds from critics and audiences. Unfortunately, what director Peter Sollett creates, in partnership with Academy Award nominated screenwriter Ron Nyswaner, is an uninspired, insipid, and downright cheap take on a same-sex couple fighting for death benefits. Starring recently Oscar-crowned Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, the two manage decent chemistry and maneuver through generic and Lifetime movie-like lines. The impressive Michael Shannon does his very best to elevate all the material, showing the if you're talented enough, no script can hold you back. On the hand, the rest of the cast, particularly Steve Carell, is so over-the-top, and poorly guided, that everything that could have made "Freeheld" a spectacular and moving drama, is quickly transformed into a distorted and tragic version of the Oscar-winning short that the film is based on. The most novice filmmakers could have created something more gratifying. "Freeheld" tells the story of New Jersey police lieutenant, Laurel Hester (Moore), and her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree (Page). When Laurel is diagnosed with terminal cancer, both battle to secure Hester's pension benefits. After just winning her long overdue Academy Award for last year's "Still Alice," the excitement and anticipation for Julianne Moore's next role was at an all-time high. Moore, as we come to expect, commits firmly to the role of a dying woman. Reminiscent of performances like Hilary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby," Moore dives into her psyche, offering her soul to a woman who lived her life with secrets, and became alive in her later years. While Nyswaner's script offers little insight into Laurel and Stacie's love, outside of montages and cancer treatments, Moore finds her way through the pitfalls to come out on the other side intact. Page, who was a strong voice in getting the picture made, is relegated to crying and awkward ticks. Several instances, we are led to believe that "this scene" will be "her scene" where she gets the chance to let loose and show us what she's all about. Once again, Sollett's plain and boring direction quickly cut her every scene short, and offer no room to explore her character's surroundings and feelings. It's a terrible waste of talent. Michael Shannon delivers a competent and layered performance as Dane, Laurel's cop partner. He finds the humanity and conflict in Dane's misunderstanding about Laurel's lifestyle and later in the fight for equality. He's the film's key positive note. Carell's over-the-top yelling and mannerisms is among the worst acting examples seen in 2015. It's as if Sollett decided to let "Michael Scott" from "The Office" run amok on the set because that's all that Carell manages to evoke. One year after a career-topping work in "Foxcatcher," I'm embarrassed that this is his next venture for the world to behold. Even down to the cheesy score by Hans Zimmer, nothing about "Freeheld" sings. It lays dormant in a small courtroom, where anger and inspiration are supposed to fly but lies lifeless among the picket signs and Josh Charles' snarls. I was sincerely hoping for something better, actually something magnificent; too bad there's not enough vision to bring this powerful story to life.

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  • True Love, believe the evidence of your own eyes

    bkoganbing2016-03-25

    One of the things that has always annoyed me about people opposing gay rights laws is the absolute refusal of the opposition especially those religiously based to recognize romantic love. It's not recognized in the holy works of religion therefore it doesn't exist. Even in this film where we are talking about two people in love. Believe the evidence of your own eyes about Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree in the film Freeheld. I worked for NYS Crime Victims Board and in death I came in contact with a lot of ordinary LGBTQ people who in death had their lives magnified far more than what they did in their lives. Such is the case with Laurel Hester who was a detective with the Ocean County Police in New Jersey. I'm not sure she was closeted, but she certainly was discreet in her male dominated work place. Discretion went out the window when she meets Stacie Andree a much younger woman at a softball game. The two start living together and while it's not all roses, the commitment is truly there. And then cancer strikes and what to do about whatever estate Hester might leave. This story illustrates precisely the problem that LGBTQ people had before marriage settled the issue permanently. You could in some places get a domestic partnership certificate and have the relationship recorded. But it wasn't mandated that private industry and government recognize it. Thus was the issue of the film as the town of Freehold and its governing body would not extend survivor benefits to Ms. Andree. They were not married, but legally they could not get married. At least without a lot of agitation and organizing. Which is where Steve Carrell as Steven Goldstein comes in, leading the same sex marriage lobbying group. The issue as he says is so neatly encapsulated in the problem that Hester and Andree face. Two things I liked about Freeheld that make this a special film. One was the chemistry between Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as Laurel and Stacy. They made me believe the love was real. The second was the scenes among Laurel's police colleagues with her and among themselves. The differing reactions was a sampling of straight and male America, quite nicely documented. Freeheld is a great film showing the need for same sex marriage as few others have.

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