REVIEW: ‘Freeheld’ (2015)

FreeheldTitle: ‘Freeheld’
2015, USA
Director: Peter Sollett
Cast: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon

If we lived in a different, more just world, it’d be easier to dismiss ‘Freeheld’ as a rather conventional drama enriched by quality performances from an impressive cast of A-list names. Unfortunately, the world we still live in in 2016 is in dire need of movies capable of shedding a light of compassion and empathy on a much-discussed and often misintepreted topic.

Based on a true story, ‘Freeheld’ tells the struggle of New Jersey’s Detective Laurel Hester and her registered domestic partner Stacie Andree to secure Laurel’s pension benefits when she is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Peter Sollett chose a very linear and conventional structure to provide the audience with a moving account of the immense frustration and hardships people like Laurel and Stacie have to go through in order to see their basic citizen rights recognized. Their fight for equality was never about politics (although that is the field where the battle is fought on an institutional level), it was about dignity and justice. Hopefully ‘Freeheld’ will influence viewers into shifting the discussion from a political into a human issue.

Apart from its social message, the film’s strongest suit lies in the genuine and honest performances delivered by the entire cast, leading and supporting. Julianne Moore is always a guarantee of sheer excellence; Ellen Page and Michael Shannon are also very good in their respective roles.

★★★☆☆

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