‘Freeheld’ the movie has to be better than ‘Freeheld’ the trailer

Excuse us for a moment as we pick our jaw off the floor.  We've just watched the first preview for the drama “Freeheld” which is pretty much a lock to debut at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival in September. Trailers are meant to sell a film to a wide audience and are not always indicative of the final product (see “The Gift”).   Still, “Freeheld” has to be better film than the initial trailer Lionsgate has just released for it.  It has to be.

The new movie is based on the true story of Laurel Hester, a New Jersey police officer diagnosed with terminal cancer who fought her local county employer for the right to pass her pension on to her partner.  Her battle was first chronicled in an acclaimed 2007 documentary with the same title.  Once you check out the new preview embedded at the top of this post you'll begin to understand our concern.

A movie starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Michael Shannon, Steve Carell and Josh Charles has to be better than this, right?  A movie directed by Peter Sollett, the man behind “Raising Victor Vargas” and the underrated “Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist,” has to be better than this, right? Steve Carell's performance cannot be as shrill and stereotyped than what we're seeing in this trailer, right?  Lionsgate just cut this preview to look like a Lifetime TV movie to pull in the older female audience, right?  


“Freeheld” opens in select theaters on Oct. 2 and nationwide on Oct. 16.