Lucien’s Review: Freeheld

FreeheldWelcome into the world of me reviewing a movie that is about some pretty complicated stuff, and a story about a legal precedent and a lesbian couple.  Be very afraid, people.  It’s not to say that I can’t do a review about this kind of movie.  One of my favorite films of 2014 was Blue is the Warmest Color.  That movie was infinitely more risque than this one, but it was still a story about subject matter that my maleness is woefully short on having first-hand experience on.  And given the nature of what this movie was talking about, maybe I am treading on thin ice.  But here I am, reviewing a movie that I saw, and since I follow Ellen Page on Instagram, I have seen promotional material of for some time.  Let’s get started.

The plot of this film follows the story of a woman named two women, Det. Laurel Hester and her domestic partner (this was back in the days before gay marriage was what it is today) Stacy.  Laurel is a detective in a police department, and very good at her job.  She’s had to keep the fact that she’s gay under wraps for job security reasons.  When she meets this far younger girl, the two fall fast and it makes the fact that she is gay that much harder to hide from her life.  But all of that falls apart when she finds out that she is in the late stages of cancer.  Now, facing the end of her life, she is facing another legal hurdle – the fact that she can’t leave her assets to her young partner.

So, this is another film that is about an event of historical significance, along with a personal story about the significant person.  I want to put out there that I am not the biggest fan of these kinds of films.  There’s a reason – they tend to be very boring.  Talking about history can be important.  I acknowledge the importance of what this film is talking about.  But that doesn’t change the fact that it is still talking about a historical event.  Which leads into another problem that these kinds of films can have.

I get that talking about an event with some historical significance is going to lead in to some controversial ideas getting thrown around, but the problem is that so many of these movies get SO fucking preachy.  And this one is no exception.  There was one scene in-particular that bothered me.  See, you have Laurel talking to her partner at work.  He’s a pretty alright guy, and he’s had her back through thick and thin.  Like any good detective, I assume.  This guy has really shown that he has her back, and when he finds out that she’s gay, the fact that she gets so pissy with him is kind of frustrating.  It’s like, he tells her about the time he told her about finding out he had a kid.  The implication being that he has told her something that was incredibly difficult and personal to him.  His reasoning was that they are partners.  In the field, they have to depend on one-another.  It’s a perfectly good rationale.  So, when he finds out that she’s been keeping something this personal from him for years, it rightly upsets him.  I get where he’s coming from.  He flat-out tells her that he wouldn’t have turned on her.  What is the response?  She gets so mad at him and basically throws in his face the fact that he’s a straight, white man.  That bugged me.  I mean, for one, who talks like that?  Who just, in a conversation with someone they have grown to trust for years, makes a point about their gender and orientation?  I could maybe have seen this scene with her being unsure, and maybe having that lead to the two of them confronting how hard it has been for her.  That would have been nice.  Would have shown their connection are partners and how he’s also a good friend.  But it was just one of several of the instances that this movie decided to shoe-horn a message in there.

This is one of those instances where I can’t say that this is a film that I think is really spectacular.  There are some good performances.  Julianne Moore has yet to do poorly in any role.  Ellen Page did very well.  Though maybe I am biased because I think she’s kind of hot.  No, seriously, the scenes where they are selling the tension she is going through are pretty good.  But Laurel’s partner in the force is also a very good role.  This guy shows that he is willing to look past the prejudices of the small town community they live in to stand with his partner to the end.  I like him.  He’s played by a guy who is kind of the asshole in every movie he is in, and this role gave him a soft side that works.  They also have Steve Carrel as a gay Jew.  I kind of love that.

I don’t know if the history they got was accurate.  I see there’s a documentary about this issue, and I may get around to watching that at some point.  Overall, I can’t say that this is a bad movie.  It’s not.  There’s nothing objectively wrong with it.  This just isn’t the kind of film that I find interesting.  I can watch and enjoy Blue is the Warmest Color because it was a fantastic coming-of-age story about a girl confused about her sexuality.  This was a film that tells an important story, but it just didn’t keep my attention.  If historical fiction films like this are the kind of thing you like, you probably will like this one.  It’s a good movie.  It’s just not my cup of tea.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

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