Watch Hannah Free
- 1 hr 26 min
Hannah Free is a poignant and emotional drama that explores the complex relationships between a group of lesbians over the course of several decades. The film, directed by Wendy Jo Carlton and released in 2009, stars Sharon Gless as Hannah, a tough, independent woman who has spent her life pursuing her dreams, but comes to find peace and redemption in her relationships with the women around her. The film opens with an elderly Hannah lying in a hospital bed, nearing the end of her life. As she drifts in and out of consciousness, she relives her memories of the women who have touched her life, including her childhood best friend Rachel (Maureen Gallagher), her first love Rachel's sister Eleanor (Ann Hagemann), and her longtime partner, the earthy, loving Greta (Jacqui Jackson). The film unfolds through a series of flashbacks that take us through Hannah's life, from her youthful days as a scrappy tomboy in rural Wisconsin, to her adult years as a successful, globe-trotting travel writer. Throughout the film, we come to understand the deep connections between Hannah and the women in her life. Rachel is her closest confidant, the one who has always been there to listen and support her through thick and thin. Eleanor is her first love, the woman who stole her heart and then shattered it when she left her for a man. And Greta is her longtime partner, the one who has stood by her side through all of life's ups and downs. As Hannah looks back on her life, she becomes increasingly aware of the importance of these relationships. She realizes that, despite all of her achievements and adventures, the thing that has truly mattered most to her has been the love and friendship of these women. As she drifts in and out of consciousness, she reflects on the moments she has shared with them - the laughter, the tears, the fights, the reconciliations - and realizes that these are the memories she will carry with her into the next life. The performances in Hannah Free are uniformly excellent. Sharon Gless, best known for her role in the TV series Cagney & Lacey, is fantastic as Hannah, bringing a fierce energy and a deep vulnerability to the role. Maureen Gallagher is equally impressive as Rachel, imbuing the character with a warmth and humanity that makes her all the more endearing. And Kelli Strickland, who plays the young Hannah, is a revelation - she captures the character's rebellious spirit and her fierce intelligence with remarkable skill. Perhaps the film's greatest strength, however, is its willingness to explore the complexities of lesbian relationships in a way that is honest, nuanced, and deeply moving. Carlton is an openly queer filmmaker, and she brings a great deal of sensitivity and insight to the film's exploration of lesbian desire and identity. Whether she is depicting the intensity of first love, the frustrations of a long-term partnership, or the joys of a deep and abiding friendship, Carlton shows a keen understanding of the many intricacies that make these relationships so meaningful and complex. In some ways, Hannah Free is a quintessential lesbian film. It takes place largely within the context of a tight-knit lesbian community, it explores the many different forms that lesbian desire can take, and it celebrates the power of female friendship and solidarity. At the same time, however, it is also a deeply human film that speaks to anyone who has ever yearned for connection, love, and understanding. By the time the film reaches its emotional conclusion, it is impossible not to be moved by the power of these relationships and the deep well of love that Hannah has built for herself over the course of her lifetime. In conclusion, Hannah Free is a beautiful, stirring film that deserves to be remembered as a classic of lesbian cinema. It is a film that celebrates the power of female friendship and the richness of the human spirit, and it does so with a grace and intelligence that is truly remarkable. Whether you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community or simply someone who appreciates great filmmaking, this is a film that is not to be missed.