The Free World | Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss: lost souls thrown together by fate

The Free World Boyd Holbrook Elisabeth Moss

Only love can truly set us free. 

Uneven but engaging, indie drama The Free World stars Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss as two lost souls given a chance of redemption after being thrown together by fate. He’s a haunted ex-con and Muslim convert, now working in an animal shelter (Octavia Spencer plays his sympathetic boss). And she’s the fugitive abused wife to whom he gives refuge.

First-time writer-director Jason Lew is heavy handed with his use of symbolism (a hunted stray if ever there was, Moss even hides in a dog carrier in one scene) and a tad clumsy with his plotting (so many characters refer to Holbrook’s violent past you know it’s only a matter of time before this peaceful bruiser explodes again). But the two stars somehow make their overwrought characters work – and earn our sympathy to boot.

Certificate 15. Runtime 98m mins. Director Jason Lew

The Free World available on DVD & Digital from Signature Entertainment.

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.