Hollywood is renowned for the waves and phases of its output, and in terms of reflecting current social issues, it is generally always trying to catch up. The current flurry of movie projects that suddenly seek to address the life-long fight for equality for same-sex couples is one for which we can be grateful, however, as studios finally appear to be widening their historically narrow view of who can be represented onscreen in lead roles, and in what context. Each wave of thematically related movies must have one that leads the charge, of course, and in this case, that movie is Freeheld – for which we finally have a trailer.
Freeheld has been in development for over six years, and is based upon the Academy-Award winning short documentary of the same name, made by Cynthia Wade in 2007. It tells the true story of Stacie Andree, whose domestic partner – New Jersey police detective Laurel Hester – was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2005. Despite Laurel’s deteriorating health, the couple waged a legal battle against the New Jersey Board of Chosen Freeholders of Ocean County (the county legislature), because they denied Andree the right to receive the pension benefits of Hester – something that would have been afforded a heterosexual couple in the same situation.
The film stars Academy Award nominee Ellen Page (Juno) as Stacie Andree, and Academy Award winner Julianne Moore (Still Alice) as Laurel Hester. Supporting that intimidating headline talent is Academy Award nominee Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road), and Golden Globe nominee Josh Charles (The Good Wife). Such a powerful assembly suggests a script of high quality – something that is easy to believe, given that it comes from Ron Nyswaner, whose screenplay for 1993’s Philadelphia brought him an Academy Award nomination of his own. Steering the entire project is director Peter Sollett (Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist).
The trailer itself strikes a tone that is uplifting – which comes as a surprise given the very real horror of Hester and Andree’s situation, and the deep frustration of cruel denial in the face of bigoted bureaucrats. The devastating impact of officially mandated inequality runs throughout the preview footage – carried, as we are, by Julianne Moore’s affecting voiceover – but this seems to be balanced beautifully by the devotion to each other demonstrated by these women, as well as the devotion to their cause demonstrated by their friends and supporters.
Make no mistake, the trailer for Freeheld indicates a film that celebrates love, rather than one that focuses solely on hate, and as such will hopefully prove itself to be a fitting tribute to Andree, Hester, and all those that continue to fight for equality. We can all find out for ourselves when it reaches theatres on October 2nd 2015.
Source: You Tube