TIFF: 'Freeheld' Star Julianne Moore Says LGBT Discrimination Rooted in Distance, Not Hate

"It's much easier to discriminate when you perceive someone or something as 'other,'" explained Moore. "Sometimes it's a matter of education. I hope it is anyway."

In Freeheld, Julianne Moore portrays the late Laurel Hester, a police detective who fought government officials for equal treatment when she was diagnosed with cancer, opposite Ellen Page as her life partner who was denied Hester's pension benefits. The two actresses hope their performances help bring the still-debated issue of marriage equality closer to home for skeptical viewers. 

"I think what the film does is just makes it so personal, and really focuses on a couple that are middle and lower-middle class, and in a situation where not having these rights, ... it really affected their life." Page told The Hollywood Reporter, ahead of the film's world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

Alongside Michael Shannon, Moore echoed, "It's much easier to discriminate when you perceive someone or something as 'other,' but when you are exposed to it in a more proximate way — this is your sister, this is your neighbor, these are the people that you live with — that everyone's just the same. I think it hopefully will really change these, and I do feel in my heart [that when] people discriminate, it's because they haven’t been exposed properly, so sometimes it's a matter of education. I hope it is anyway."

Still, Moore noted that the fact that the Peter Sollett-directed film, equal parts love story and civil rights drama, is debuting months after the Supreme Court deemed gay marriage bans unconstitutional is "a celebration of the changes and the incredible distances that we've come in a relatively short period of time."

Also starring Steve Carell and Luke Grimes, Freeheld hits theaters Oct. 2 via Lionsgate. Watch the cast's chat with THR above.

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