Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) gets convicted of murder. He insists that he’s innocent and his sister Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) believes him. From then on, she does everything she can think of to get Kenny out. She even starts going to law school in the evening, even though she has a a job and two kids. And she sticks with it – for 16 years.
Conviction tells a fascinating story but gets a bit too sappy at times. But anchored by the amazing cast, you can lean back and enjoy the sap.
Betty Anne Waters’ story is amazing and it is a good story to tell. Pamela Gray‘s script works well – especially her approach to tell it a little anachronistically. She concentrates on the female characters, which is rare enough and nicely done. Betty Anne takes center stage, her friendship with Abra (Minnie Driver) is wonderful (and for once a real friendship with fighting and teasing and loyalty, something we practically never get between women) and the whole film is filled with amazing actresses playing complicated, layered women.
Peter Gallagher drowns in this – he might as well not be in the film at all. Sam Rockwell, on the other hand, shines as usual. Which might be also because the relationship between Kenny and Betty Anne is perfectly told.
With all these good things, it’s easy to forgive and enjoy the sappiness the movie comes to at several times. But it could have done with a little less tear-jerking.
Tony Goldwyn’s direction is nothing to write home about. It can best be described as adequate. But it’s solid and it works and he leaves his actors enough room to do their thing.
Summarising: Worth seeing.