A moving story, poorly told

True story. When in 2003 decorated New Jersey cop Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she wants her domestic partner (Ellen Page) to receive her pension benefits once she’s gone, as allowed by law. But the county officials, known as freeholders, resist. Into the fray step a fellow cop (Michael Shannon) and a flamboyant gay activist (Steve Carrel). It’s a well-meaning message movie that’s terrifically acted and moving in spots, but this is despite the amateurish direction and lackluster storytelling by Peter Sollett, who apparently thinks a timely subject is enough.

Japanese title: Hands of Love. (103 min)