I had a really hard time keeping this secret! My participation last weekend at the Hannah Free world premiere was not merely all for pleasure. I was hand carrying the first covers of the novel — for purposes that will be disclosed in due time! — for the film producers, authors and actors to see. The cover is sensational and it makes my heart stop to see Sharon Gless on it.
Those who know me may have thought it odd that I didn’t immediately blog about how wonderful the movie is, though I commented to that effect on Facebook. Until the official announcement came out, however, I was in perilous conflict-of-interest territory, and didn’t want anything that seemed like an official review not to also reveal that I have an indirect financial interest in the film’s success, as both Bella Books’ editorial director and the book’s editor, and my name is among those thanked in the film credits. Those lines are not blurry for me and I wouldn’t want anyone to think that they are.
So now, all that disclosed, I can talk about what a truly wonderful film I think it is. The production values are high, the story doubly moving as both the truth of our lives since, well, forever, and in the more recent light of decisions like Proposition 8. Hannah is a voice, a passionate, loving, angry, real voice for our pain and anxiety that when we most need to be with those we love, we’re not allowed. It’s a good cry-your-eyes-out ending, and I was not the only femme in the audience dabbing up mascara. Even the butches were blowing their noses. Outside, because it was the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall, and Pride Day 2009, men were singing show tunes as I emerged from the theater, putting the perfect touch on a wonderful event.
Gless’s performance is supported by a strong cast and there are many laughs, especially of the “been-there-done-that” variety. But when Sharon Gless (costumed decades older and pounds heavier than she really is) looks in the camera and declares her fierce love for another woman, and her desire to have that love known to the entire world, it’s tingle time, head to toe, and worth the price of admission.
Please check out the film air dates at film festivals near you this summer and fall. It’s worth the drive and then some. As Rosie O’Donnell put it at the premiere, who hasn’t had a thing for Christine Cagney all these years? Yet, you don’t have to be in that (very large) club to love the movie. I’m really pleased that Gless has finally had a chance to show her brand of passion and humor on the big screen.
At present, plans for the film to novel adaptation and the eventual release of a DVD from Ripe Fruit Films are in the works. Keep watching BellaBooks.com for announcements of exclusive offers about the book!
Lots of pictures at Hannah Free on Facebook, or at Windy City Media. Above is Tracy Baim of Windy City Media, also one of the film’s producers, and me holding a book cover between us. Among the many charming and wonderful actresses I met was Kelli Strickland, who plays Hannah in her 20s and 30s in the movie. Finding out she was a fan of my books was delightful!