The film Freeheld is a dedication to the life and struggle of Laurel Hester who was a police lieutenant with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in New Jersey and her struggle for justice and equal rights.
After being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2004, she fought with the then-existing system for her right to pass pension benefits she’d earned to her same-sex domestic partner.
Her struggle to get equal treatment for her relationship which she eventually obtained shortly before she died at the age of 49 in 2006 was earlier documented in the Oscar-winning 2007 documentary with the same name.
‘Freeheld‘ – Film Synopsis:
Based on the Oscar-winning short documentary and adapted by the writer of Philadelphia, Freeheld is a true love story of Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and Stacie Andree (Ellen Page) and their fight for justice. A decorated New Jersey police detective, Laurel is diagnosed with cancer and wants to leave her hard-earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie. However, the county officials, Freeholders, conspire to prevent Laurel from doing this. Hard-nosed detective Dane Wells (Michael Shannon), and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell), unite in Laurel and Stacie’s defense, rallying police officers and ordinary citizens to support their struggle for equality.
Watch the movie trailer for ‘Freeheld’
Starring: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, and Steve Carell
Directed by: Peter Sollett
Release date: 2 February 2016
Review: Freeheld is an excellent portrayal of Laurel’s story that combines tension-filled political drama with personal detail. Other than her plight and struggle for justice, the film captures beautiful moments she shared with her same-sex partner, their deep love and the emotions as they face the reality of losing each other.
Julianne Moore yet again came up with an exceptional performance along with her partner on-screen Ellen Page, who herself came out as a lesbian before the release of the film.
Besides, the supporting cast Michael Shannon as Laurel’s police partner and activist and advocate, Steven Goldstein, played by Steve Carell, have done justice to this biographical tale.
Freeheld is indeed a must-watch, as it documents a chapter of modern American history as far as human rights and equality are concerned.