After the Campaign: Freeheld

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In my campaign review for Freeheld I wrote:

But there is plenty of room in the campaign for Moore and Page to shine, which is the larger point for moviegoers of all stripes. Yes, this might be a “niche” film in the same way any movie with a societal message is. So it’s going to be the promise of tour-de-force performances that’s going to bring in the masses. Unfortunately I think the focus on the legal nature of the story gives short shrift to those performances and some general audience moviegoers may be turned off by what is seen as a “preachy” movie. To be clear, I don’t feel that way but that’s my opinion of how the marketing will be received by the general public.

Having seen the movie now I’m of mixed opinions. I don’t think the marketing missold the movie but I do think it didn’t do a very good job of selling what I think are the two halves of the movie as a whole product. The first half is very much the relationship drama I was looking for and which I felt the campaign was right in focusing on. But the second half is all about the legal fight and the drive to change public policy.

But what the campaign did sell was the overall emotional heft of the movie. It was right in putting the focus on Moore’s performance, which may not be her best but even her at 78% is twice as good as many other actresses at 100%. If anything it gave short shrift to Page, who’s asked to do a lot of the heavy lifting emotionally since it’s on her to react to everything that’s going on around her.

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