Benjamin Maio Mackay
Freeheld - 5 Stars
This is utterly sublime in every way. I’ve seen hundreds, maybe thousands of films and none compare to this. It’s a marvel.
The film is based on the true story of Laurel Hester, a police officer in New Jersey. The story narrates the difficulties faced by a lesbian police detective and her domestic partner, Stacie Andree. Following her diagnosis with terminal lung cancer, Hester repeatedly appealed to the county's board of chosen freeholders in an attempt to ensure her pension benefits could be passed on to her domestic partner.
This could almost be called a horror film – why you ask. Well because it’s set in the mid 2000s. Laurel Hester and her partner were fighting for equality in America in the 2000s. That is appalling. This film holds a mirror up to society and in the best possible ways normalises homosexuality the way it should be to an extent that we haven’t seen in mainstream cinema before. It’s a truly masterful thing to do – other people have called this film “brave,” I don’t see what it brave about making a film regarding equality. Equality should be given to everyone and this movie is a “fuck you” to those who stand in equality’s way.
Ellen Page and Julianne Moore are superb; they portray these real life people exceptionally. Credit should also be given to Michael Shannon who is outstanding and Steve Carell who could potentially win a best supporting Oscar for his performance.
The cinematography was outstanding and it truly drew you into the story. The writing and directing was Oscar worthy and by the end of the film the whole cinema was crying.
You will cry, you will laugh, and you will feel this couples’ victories and their defeats – all in the space of 100 minutes. This is an emotional rollercoaster that fights for equality and it simply is a must see film.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of the Australian Marriage Equality Council and eOne Entertainment