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

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.

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.

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

TrueSpark: Teaching Children and Teens About Character With Quality Films
I am honored to serve on the advisory committee for TrueSpark, which provides quality films and curricula for schools at no cost to use in teaching character. [iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/akEWIRfjnxk?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Parents and teachers who want to lear

posted 8:22:33pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Genevieve Bailey of "I Am Eleven"
There's a reason that so many heroes and heroines of classic literature are eleven years old. It is that last magical moment at the cusp of childhood and adolescence, which is what makes it so fascinating and delightful. Genevieve Bailey remembered the year she was 11 as one of the happiest of her l

posted 8:09:47pm Sep. 21, 2014 | read full post »

The Best TV for Kids May Be Online
Children have more choices than ever on television, but some of the best viewing for kids is online. Common Sense Media has a great list of family-friendly YouTube stars. I'd add EvanTube to the list. Newsweek calls him The Most Popular Kid You've Never Heard Of, with 272 million views of his engagi

posted 3:59:29pm Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Fifty Years of Fiddler on the Roof
The Yiddish-language stories of Sholem Alechim, collected as Tevye the Dairyman and The Railroad Stories (Library of Yiddish Classics), inspired one of the most successful, influential, and widely performed Broadway musicals of all time, "Fiddler on the Roof," which opened fifty years ago this week.

posted 8:00:47am Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Great Cinematographers on Instagram
Indiewire has a gorgeous array of Instagram feeds from Hollywood cinematographers. Be sure to talke a look so you can follow them.

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.