The upcoming biographical drama, Freeheld released its bountifully bittersweet debut trailer. The film, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page as a same-sex couple embroiled in a legal battle over the allocation of the former’s pension benefits, is especially timely with its topical focus on gay marriage. With Oscar buzz for the project brewed well before a single scene was shot, watch the first clip below.



The trailer shows the stars with dramatic chops in gear as Freeheld approaches the real-life tragic events centering on a closeted New Jersey police detective, Laurel Hester (Moore) and her domestic partner in an auto mechanic, Stacie Andree (Page). The partnership endures for six years until Laurel receives a terminal cancer diagnosis. Laurel becomes especially concerned about Stacie’s future when she realizes that their relationship will not yield the benefit of having her pension pass to her spouse upon her death. Thus, a heart-wrenching legal battle ensues to attain the same basic privilege that a heterosexual marriage would have provided by default.

The aforementioned timeliness of the release window of Freeheld gives the film an extra bit of narrative weight on the back of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last month requiring all states and territories to recognize same-sex marriages. However, it becomes especially fortuitous, considering that this particular film has been in development for over five years. Inspired by the 2007 documentary directed by Cynthia Wade focusing on the real Laurel and Stacie, which also carried the title of Freeheld, Philadelphia writer, Ron Nyswaner adapted this screenplay in 2010. Ellen Page quickly attached herself to the project, after which, it sat in developmental purgatory until Julianne Moore jumped on board in early in 2014. Additionally, Peter Sollett, who is known from the musically-centric 2008 romance film, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist assumed directorial duties.

Besides the gripping gravitas that Julianne Moore always brings to the table, the film seems to be close-hitting for Ellen Page, who, herself, came out as a lesbian last year. The onscreen couple will also be joined by a hard-hitting supporting cast with Michael Shannon as Laurel’s police partner, who, despite the revelation of their lifestyle differences, becomes a fervent supporter in the legal fight. Likewise, Steve Carell plays activist and advocate, Steven Goldstein; a role that once had Zach Galifianakis cast. Despite the solemnity of the subject matter, Carell’s comedic timing appears to still be on display, providing the trailer with its sole moment of levity. Josh Charles, Luke Grimes and Mary Birdsong also fill out the players in this gripping film.

Freeheld looks to further edify people on the story of same-sex equality while harvesting the tears of movie patrons when it hits theaters on October 2.

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