Peter Sollett’s (Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist) lesbian drama Freeheld premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this week to a packed house full of tearful moviegoers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film is based on the Oscar-winning documentary short from 2007 that told the true story of domestic partners Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree who struggled to obtain couple’s pension benefits after one of them was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Oscar-winner Julianne Moore (Still Alice) plays police lieutenant Laurel who packs her scenes with emotional layers and depth while Oscar-nominee Ellen Page (Juno) plays her partner Stacie in a supporting, yet impactful role. Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love) and Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road) also star.
The combination of the relevant same-sex marriage issue with the devastation of cancer is an obvious recipe for emotional triggers, however, based on critical reaction from the premiere, Moore and company’s dynamic performances along with Ron Nyswaner’s (Philadelphia) screenplay allow the story to bypass most of its potentially sappy traps.
If this early momentum continues to grow for the film and its stars, Moore could very well be looking at an Oscar nomination for the second year in a row. The recent Supreme Court Legislation making same-sex marriage part of national law will likely make some sort of impact on its reception moving forward, either in built up support or waning interest as the issue being faced in the film has already made huge strides since filming.
Summit Entertainment will release Freeheld on October 2nd. See the trailer here.