Basedonatruestory (I just wanted to say that really fast because it’s such an overused phrase but couldn’t think of a better one), this film stars Julianne Moore as the in-the-closet cop in small town New Jersey who falls in love with and moves in with a much younger mechanic (now that’s a phrase I love) played by Ellen Page.
Julianna’s chain-smoking character falls terminally ill with lung cancer and tries to have her pension benefits assigned to her domestic spouse, under the same-named New Jersey law. The local municipal leaders, called Freehelders (bet you’re getting the title now) are reluctant to rock the values in their small town boat and so turn down her request twice, sparking a very public fight and controversy.
The two leads are both luminescent as always, and Steve Carroll is terrific in a scene stealing role as a gay Jewish activist. For my money though, the big delight is Michael Shannon as the cop partner who despite his white, conservative, straight looking appearance compassionately takes on her fight as if it were his own and shows surprisingly healthy acting chops. Oh and the one fly in the ointment is Josh Charles as a friendly Freeholder. Josh, Josh – you must explain to us what you were THINKING when you left the best script-writing on television in The Good Wife to play a series of small and thankless roles in film. The mind boggles.