NEW YORK (AP) — Ellen Page was first approached about the true-life gay rights drama “Freeheld” when she was 21, just coming off her breakthrough in “Juno.” It was seven years before the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a right, and six before Page, herself, came out.
“It really did align with an internal process I was going through with my own identity, with my own struggles of being closeted,” says Page of “Freeheld.” ”It’s lovely to be part of a film that’s reflecting upon why we need the Supreme Court ruling and why we need to continue to strive to equality. I think the film is reflecting a time when that change is happening.”
As much as change is in the air in 2015, it’s also on the screen. Though Hollywood’s track record when it comes to telling the stories of LGBT lives is far from gleaming, this fall season boasts one of the richest and most varied batch of films yet to dramatize the struggles of gay and transgendered people.
“Freeheld” (in theaters Oct. 2) is about Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) and her domestic partner, Stacie Andree (Page). When Hester, an Ocean County, N.J. police officer, began dying of terminal lung cancer in 2005, she appealed to the county Board of Freeholders to allow her pension to go to Andree. Though it would have been automatic for a married couple, the board initially refused.
Eight years after a documentary short on Hester won an Oscar, screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (“Philadelphia“) has penned the dramatization, directed by Peter Sollett and co-starring Steve Carell and Michael Shannon.
Todd Haynes’ “Carol” (out Nov. 20), based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel, is about the illicit love affair between two women (Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara) in the conservative 1950s. A lushly detailed period film, thick with an atmosphere of socially enforced repression, the film rides a wave of praise from the Cannes Film Festival, where Mara shared in the best actress award.