The long-gestating feature film “Freeheld,” starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore, has released its first trailer. The movie chronicles the real-life love story between New Jersey police detective Laurel Hester (Moore) and her domestic partner, car mechanic Stacie Andree (Page). Once Hester became terminally ill with cancer, the lesbian couple fought to have her pension benefits transferred to Andree.
An extended sizzle reel released to distributors earlier this year got several companies into a bidding war for the film, with Lionsgate winning out. The first trailer (see below) shows why.
The movie is based on Cynthia Wade’s short documentary by the same name, which took home an Oscar in 2007. Page has been attached to the project since 2008, but it sat largely dormant until last year, when Moore signed on. Then things really got moving, with production starting last fall.
Written by “Philadelphia” scribe Ron Nyswaner, the film’s trailer has marked similarities to the landmark Tom Hanks film. Both feature life-and-death struggles for justice. Both fight for the mainstream acceptance of LGBT people. So the potential for “Freeheld” to be, in essence, the lesbian “Philadelphia” or “Brokeback Mountain” is very real.
The film’s marketing is also clearly playing on its timely story with its #loveislove hashtag. While the U.S. Supreme Court decision in late June legalizing same-sex marriage across all 50 states makes the film’s premise almost moot, it’s important to look back at the struggles of Hester and Andree and countless others. Their stories and their fight helped to pave the road to full marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples across this country.
It’s also a reminder of the speed at which a determined and dedicated group of people can enact change. Hester began her fight with her New Jersey county’s freeholders (known as county supervisors elsewhere) in November 2005. That’s just a decade ago.
“Freeheld” is set for limited release Oct. 2 and wide release Oct. 16.
Posted by BuzzFeed Entertainment on Wednesday, July 22, 2015