The 2009 Gay And Lesbian Film Festival
By Nevin Jeffersn
Hannah Free is a beautiful,moving,and touching love story about Hannah (Sharon Gless) and Rachel who grew up as little girls in a small Midwest town. The movie flashes back to the past and present in their decades long love affair. Hannah becomes an adventurous, love her and leave her lesbian and Rachel a strong but quiet homemaker who put up with Hannah’s leaving and returning back to her. What is revealed is a multi-layered and strong portrait of how the two women maintained a passionate life-long love affair. They tell the stories of their lives from mouth-watering apple pie to clandestine sex in the barn, from adventurous travels to an unbearable marriage, from a world war to deep family denial. Through a history spanning nearly 70 years, their love is the bond that withstands it all.
Present day is in a nursing home where Hannah is forbidden from seeing the now comatose Rachel because she’s not “family.” Hannah has conversations with the young Rachel. Hannah finds help in a young woman who seems to just be in the home to visit old folks. This adds a twist that unveils itself and adds to an already compelling story. This movie touches base on same sex partner’s rights,what defines a family,and denial from a family. It explores the difficulties when your loved ones become old and ailing. The characters are shown as courageous women in vast ways. With the fight for gay marriage all over today’s headlines, this film couldn’t have come at a better time. When Hannah lies in her own bed, longing to hold her lover so she doesn’t have to die alone, we feel the ache. Sharon Gless gives a very powerful performance from the pain in her eyes and the tremor in her voice pulls at our heart strings on her not being able to be with her lover. This is a great love story with great performances by Taylor Miller (All My Children), Maureen Gallagher, Ann Hagemann, Kelli Strickland and Jacqui Jackson. Directed by Wendy Jo Carlton,written by Claudia Allen and produced by Tracey Baim.