Directed by Peter Sollett.
Starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell and Josh Charles.
After New Jersey detective, Laurel Hester gets diagnosed with terminal cancer, her domestic partner, Stacie Andree both fight to allow Stacie to receive Laurel’s pension benefits.
The term ‘Made for TV movie’ is often used to describe a specific type of drama. The plot centering around similar themes and having the “based on true events stamp. Many will perhaps refer to Freeheld as ‘Made for TV’ and although not wholly incorrect, (in its presentation, not production) it does do a disservice to the story. My concern going in was that the story would have such heft that the script and direction would never really have any wiggle room. Sadly, I found this to be the case this time around.
Stars such as Michael Shannon, Steve Carell and Josh Charles make the most of each moment of the real characters they portray as that is all this movie gives even its two leads, moments. Little snippets and glimpses of a situation here, or a quick showing of a conversation here. Looking like the filmmakers worked their way through a check list of milestones in the life of both Laurel and Stacie. This led to fast cut montages to show a passage of time to allow the piece to include as much as possible.
There is no doubt that the true events of Freeheld are harrowing and important. Strangely they merely use it as a well acted dramatized documentary. Having to encompass so much left it feeling bloated and although you go along with this extraordinary journey, it always fells like the pick and choose a few major sequences to highlight.
You feel that the array of talent is left unwanting here, with them falling victim to the structure of their movie. Always solid throughout, the players give exactly what is needed, it’s just that not a lot was required.
The cosmetic elements of the film are there and research was clearly in-depth in order to bring it to screen, from the clothes they wore to the house and surrounding areas. Never making any grave mistakes but folding under a powerful story, Freeheld is a solid and in sections effective movie.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★