Julianne Moore is one of the great actors of her generation, finally rewarded with an Academy Award this year for Still Alice. She can play just about anything she wants to, and while she’s very good in Freeheld, it suffers from the same illness many of Moore’s films do: It’s just not all that great beyond her performance.
She plays cancer patient Laurel Hester in this drama, a tough New Jersey cop fighting not just a terminal disease but also the system. Laurel wants to leave her pension and other benefits to her partner (Ellen Page), and given that this story unfolded in real life in 2003, you can kind of guess the state’s position at the time.
The mistake Freeheld makes as a story is not trying to convince you, because it thinks you’re already on its side. It’s a pretty shallow version of what this could be.