Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Conviction

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for language and some violent images
Profanity:Very strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking
Violence/Scariness:Brief scenes of murder victim and crime scene, bar fight
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:October 15, 2010
DVD Release Date:February 1, 2011
B+
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language and some violent images
Profanity: Very strong language
Nudity/Sex: Sexual references
Alcohol/Drugs: Drinking
Violence/Scariness: Brief scenes of murder victim and crime scene, bar fight
Diversity Issues: A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date: October 15, 2010
DVD Release Date: February 1, 2011

Sam Rockwell gives one of the best performances of the year as Kenny Waters, a man wrongly convicted of murder for eighteen years until his sister was able to prove that he was innocent and get him released. Betty Ann (Hillary Swank) and Kenny were two of nine children from seven fathers raised in a succession of foster homes. She was a high school dropout and new mother when he went to prison. She went back to school, graduated from college and law school, passed the bar, and with the help of Cardozo Law School’s Innocence Project, was able to prove through DNA evidence that the blood found at the crime scene was not his.

Rockwell is mesmerizing as a man whose kind heart and family loyalty sometimes suffer from his impulsively confrontational behavior. He conveys at every stage the weight of his experience in prison as we see him over the 18-year period. His frustration, longing, despair, his fear of hoping too much mingled with his unquenchable pride in his sister are all heartbreakingly evident. He shows us why he was one of the local police department’s favorite “usual suspects” but he also shows us why someone would spend her life working on his behalf, even after everyone tells her to move on.

Advertisement

Director Tony Goldwyn and screenwriter Pamela Gray do a fine job of shaping the material, giving us a sense of the characters’ past experiences, the strength of their connection, and the press of time. The cast includes the reliable support of Minnie Driver as Betty Ann’s law school classmate and loyal friend and Juliette Lewis, outstanding as a recanting witness.

Advertisement

Swank, who co-produced, is sincere and dedicated if not ideal casting for this role. She has gravitated lately to a series of heroic characters, though her best work has been in more damaged or fragile roles. A high school dropout in real life, she is drawn to characters who exemplify education and achievement. But she gives us no sense of school as anything but an obstacle course. Her learning is not tied in any way to expanded understanding; she seems to have no curiosity about the law and no passion for anything but freeing her brother. We see the impact of her single-mindedness on her husband and sons but not how their reactions affect her. The story is one of triumph that cannot help but move us, but as a real-life character who gives everything, Swank does not give us enough.

Previous Posts

Trailer: Samuel L. Jackson is the President in "Big Game"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKThy0cipVA ...

posted 8:00:34am Apr. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Song from the Forest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekirhw2MMwQ I was delighted to see that there is a documentary about Louis Sarno, whose work I have admired since I saw the wonderful film Oka! directed by Lavinia ...

posted 8:00:43am Apr. 24, 2015 | read full post »

The Age of Adaline
Be careful what you wish for.  You think it would be great to stay 29 forever?  Adaline (Blake Lively) finds out that it is not great to become unstuck from time, to watch everyone you love grow old and die, to hurt those you care about ...

posted 5:59:10pm Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

The Water Diviner
Before it detours into not one, not two, but at least three preposterous Hollywood twists, "The Water Diviner" is an absorbing drama about ...

posted 5:58:54pm Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Critics Write About Our First Encounters with Star Wars
The latest Criticwire survey asks for our first encounters with "Star Wars." I had a lot of fun writing about mine: A long, long time ...

posted 9:22:38am Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.