On Wednesday night I attended a special screening of Freeheld at the Castro Theater, benefiting NCLR. It was packed with lesbians—SURPRISE! I was reminded of the time I saw the premier of Desert Hearts at the Castro in 1985…you could have heard a pin drop during some of the intense scenes.
While I can’t say this is the best film I’ve ever seen, I will tell you that is an important film, and I was riveted. Freeheld tells the true story of New Jersey’s Police Lieutenant Laurel Hester, who while battling terminal cancer, fights to make sure her partner receives her pension after she dies. Based on the 2007 documentary directed by Cynthia Wade, the film had many intense, funny and poignant moments. It kept me engaged from beginning to end, remembering the way things were, not very long ago. It brought back the late 1990’s in vivid detail. I tried not to get distracted by the fact that Ellen Page looked 12 years old…she is hot. And Julianne Moore is always amazing. Steve Carell was hilarious in his role of a gay activist.
Here is what Kate Kendell, executive Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights had to say:
“Everyone should see this. It’s beautiful. I admit I was a bit star-struck last night meeting Julianne Moore and Ellen Page. They have both been faves of mine for a long time, and, spoiler alert…they are both so warm and smart and unassuming. It’s everything you could hope for in a star-crush. But most important was the movie. Freeheld is SUCH an important story and the film is beautiful and so well done. Having won marriage, the rank discrimination Laurel and Stacie faced would not happen in the same way today. But so many more traumatic stories are still happening every day. Let’s finish the job.”
Jenni Olson, also in attendance had some interesting thoughts:
“While we achieved marriage equality from the SCOTUS ruling the fight for equality is far from over. Freeheld is an extremely moving and timely film that will continue the work of winning hearts and minds. Clearly there were a lot of people (Ellen Page in particular) who worked very very hard to pull the film together and get it made because of their belief in the importance of this story and the impact it can have (in addition to be a very entertaining drama which is all the more moving because it’s based on a true story). It was especially wonderful to see it with a full house at the Castro and really great that it was a benefit for our beloved NCLR as they have done and continue to do so much work on these issues”