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Perhaps the most impressive thing about Freeheld – the based-on-a-true-story tale of a New Jersey cop (Julianne Moore) who, when diagnosed with terminal cancer, was not allowed to transfer her pension to her partner (Ellen Page) – is the many angles it finds to make an audience cry.
It’s a slow build as the film begins with Moore’s tough cop and Page’s tough mechanic slowly falling for each other and even more slowly coming out to her workmates, most notably her police partner (Michael Shannon). But once the cancer makes an appearance this comes at you from all angles. It’s hard to know what’s more tear-worthy: is it her wife’s refusal to accept she’s dying? Her police partner’s slow path to understand and stoic support? The fact that without her pension, her partner is going to have to sell the house that symbolises their love? A community coming together to stand up for what’s right? The story itself is a worthy, if unspectacular, telling of a milestone on the path to acceptance, with Moore once again showing off her skill at bravely dying and Shannon getting the only character that goes through any kind of emotional journey. But if you want a chance to cry at the movies, this is one not to miss.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris