Review: Freeheld

"I'm only asking for equality"

Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) is a detective on the Ocean County police force and has been for about 23 years. She's a lesbian, but she keeps that a secret from her colleagues out of fear of discrimination. Even from her partner, Dane (Michael Shannon) who she's worked with for many years. She meets Stacie (Ellen Page) they fall in love, get a dog, a house, a domestic partnership and everything goes swimmingly until Laurel is diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and has to fight for her pension to go to Stacie.

I never saw the documentary short on Laurel and Stacie. I looked for it, but could never find a place to watch it. It made me wonder while watching this film how much Dane really did for them. The two women almost become supporting characters towards the back half of this film as they chose to follow Michael Shannon's Dane instead. It's hard to complain, because it's Michael Shannon and he's wonderful, but it seemed very jarring to go from Laurel's story to barely seeing her for 45 minutes. I suspect they did this so it didn't overwhelmingly feel like a "cancer movie."

The acting from Moore, Page, and Shannon is spot on and very emotional. I was afraid I'd think of Still Alice while watching Moore since she just came off that role, but I didn't. Not once, Laurel is very different. The only one that isn't really up to par is Steve Carrell, who plays a gay activist that comes in and tries to help sway the Freeholders. He's meant to be flamboyant, but Carrell was almost too theatrical. Especially compared to everyone else, he stuck out in a bad way.

I had high expectations for this film. It falters a bit in places, but it was still a good enough watch. It more than likely won't be a big Oscar contender like I thought it could, but I'm still glad I saw it, and I once again couldn't escape ugly cry face.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B-

Memorable Quote: "That's a deal breaker." - Stacie (Ellen Page)

Fun Fact: Luke Grimes plays a fellow closeted gay cop in this film, which is hilarious to me because this is the same guy who dropped out of True Blood when he found out his character was bisexual and would have a gay sex scene. Yes, I know, he shouldn't have to do something he's not comfortable with. (Even though hello, you're on True Blood) but this was amusing.


  1. Interesting fact about Grimes! LOL ugly cry face. Funny, the film looks exactly as you've described--not great, but well acted.

    1. Yes! The entire film, I knew I recognized him from True Blood, but I couldn't remember if he was the guy they replaced or the one who took over the role. The former. lol

  2. I thought this film totally centered on the 2 women battling for equality and for her pension to go to her partner. It surprises me actually. Steve Carrell is good at certain films but even the one he was lauded for, Foxcatcher, didn't do much for me regarding his acting. I liked him better in other films like Dan in Real Life.

    1. Carrell just doesn't fit in here. I did think he was outstanding in Foxcatcher though.

  3. I'm not expecting much, but I do want to see it. And I completely forgot that Shannon was in it!

    1. I'm surprised a film like this wasn't better. Especially with that cast. Not bad, I just thought there would be more.


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