Lieutenant Laurel Hester is dying. All she wants to do is leave her pension benefits to her life partner - Stacie, so Stacie can afford to keep their house. Laurel is told no; they are not ... See full summary »
Dane B. Wells
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Laurel and Stacie first encounter each other at a volleyball game with each playing on opposite teams. Stacie serves to Laurel, whereupon Laurel's team successfully returns the ball and the game is over. However, in volleyball, only the side that is serving can score a point and they must also win by two. For the game to be over, Laurel's side would need to get the ball back to serve the winning point. The director may have decided to skip that in order to keep the story moving. See more »
[to his police team]
Who's coming to the meeting?
[no one responds]
Oh, don't put yourselves out. Laurel would back any of you up in a heartbeat. And she's dying! But hey, you know, she's a dyke, so who gives a shit? Cowards!
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One of the things that has always annoyed me about people opposing gay rights laws is the absolute refusal of the opposition especially those religiously based to recognize romantic love. It's not recognized in the holy works of religion therefore it doesn't exist. Even in this film where we are talking about two people in love. Believe the evidence of your own eyes about Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree in the film Freeheld.
I worked for NYS Crime Victims Board and in death I came in contact with a lot of ordinary LGBTQ people who in death had their lives magnified far more than what they did in their lives. Such is the case with Laurel Hester who was a detective with the Ocean County Police in New Jersey. I'm not sure she was closeted, but she certainly was discreet in her male dominated work place.
Discretion went out the window when she meets Stacie Andree a much younger woman at a softball game. The two start living together and while it's not all roses, the commitment is truly there.
And then cancer strikes and what to do about whatever estate Hester might leave. This story illustrates precisely the problem that LGBTQ people had before marriage settled the issue permanently. You could in some places get a domestic partnership certificate and have the relationship recorded. But it wasn't mandated that private industry and government recognize it.
Thus was the issue of the film as the town of Freehold and its governing body would not extend survivor benefits to Ms. Andree. They were not married, but legally they could not get married. At least without a lot of agitation and organizing.
Which is where Steve Carrell as Steven Goldstein comes in, leading the same sex marriage lobbying group. The issue as he says is so neatly encapsulated in the problem that Hester and Andree face.
Two things I liked about Freeheld that make this a special film. One was the chemistry between Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as Laurel and Stacy. They made me believe the love was real.
The second was the scenes among Laurel's police colleagues with her and among themselves. The differing reactions was a sampling of straight and male America, quite nicely documented.
Freeheld is a great film showing the need for same sex marriage as few others have.
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