Production wrapped on Peter Sollett’s forthcoming human rights drama Freeheld late last year, and today, the first clutch of images from the movie have debuted online. Taken from the film’s official Facebook page, the stills showcase Oscar-winner Julianne Moore and her co-star Ellen Page as a couple who rallied against the archaic benefits system in 2005.
Based on the 2007 documentary of the same name, Freeheld follows the story of Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree. The couple fought to change the Domestic Partners Rights Act as its vague parameters – it “grants pension benefits to domestic partners of all New Jersey public employees” – failed to provide those benefits to partners from a same sex relationship. The original documentary stirred up good critical notices upon release and went on to receive the Special Jury Award at Sundance, with its director Cynthia Wade also snagging the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
For Sollett’s big screen feature, the story will remain much the same. Heavy-hitter Moore is positioned as Laurel Hester, a New Jersey police officer diagnosed with terminal lung cancer who strives to ensure her state-guaranteed pension benefits would pass on to her domestic partner Stacie, played by Page. A compelling story to say the least, it also secured a top-tier supporting cast including Steve Carell, Luke Grimes and Michael Shannon.
Freeheld is currently without a U.S. release date. Until its appearance is secured on the cinematic calendar, check out the official synopsis below and the clutch of images and teaser poster in the gallery above.
Freeheld tells the story of fearless Police Detective Laurel Hester, working to bust New Jersey drug dealers with her long-term partner and mentor, Detective Dane Wells. Though close, Laurel has never been honest with Dane about her sexual orientation and Dane nurses a long-held attraction to her. Their friendship is tested when Laurel falls in love with a younger, openly gay, car mechanic, Stacie Andree, who urges Laurel to be open about their relationship. Laurel finds the domestic happiness she’s long sought with Stacie and they buy a house together. When Laurel is diagnosed with a terminal illness, she risks coming out of the closet to ask the county commissioners (Freeholders) to grant her police pension to Stacie when she dies (as would happen automatically for any heterosexual, married couple), so Stacie can afford to stay in their home. The Freeholders refuse Laurel’s request, citing religious and budgetary reasons.
Conservative Dane overcomes his own prejudices and leads the fight to reverse the decision and rallies his fellow policemen to Laurel’s cause. Stacie devotes every waking moment to saving Laurel’s life. The case draws the attention of a larger-than-life, gay, political activist, Steven Goldstein, who competes with Dane to lead the struggle, racing against the clock to right this injustice while Laurel is still alive.