It's the mid 1970s. Marie Ragghianti left an abusive marriage and moved back home with her mother Virginia in Tennessee to eke out a better life for herself and her three young children. She waited tables, while also completing the degree requirements at Vanderbilt to obtain a B.A. in English and Psychology. She is unapologetic in asking a college acquaintance, Eddie Sisk, for a job, when he is appointed legal counsel for the just-elected governor Ray Blanton. In what he considers a win-win situation, Eddie offers Marie a job as the Extradition Officer for the state, which she accepts. From there, Marie quickly moves up the chain of command, first becoming the liaison to the Governor on Parole Board recommendations - the role which is meant to be a two way street, where there is an understood quid pro quo in recommendations from the Board to the Governor, and from the Governor back to the Board - then becoming the Parole Board Chief. While working in these jobs, Marie becomes more and...Written by
Lawyer and politician Fred Thompson, appearing in this film as himself, launching his acting career with this movie. See more »
The song playing in the nightclub a day or two after her son chokes on the pistachio, is "Honey Honey" by ABBA. That song wasn't recorded until January of 1974, and the screen had previously just read that it was 1973, moments earlier. See more »
Marie Ragghianti (Sissy Spacek) has enough of her abusive husband. She leaves him taking her three children back home to Tennessee. In 1973, she goes back to school. She gets a job from former classmate Eddie Sisk (Jeff Daniels). The head of the parole board, Charles Traughber (Morgan Freeman), is uncooperative. Bill Thompson is an unscrupulous operator behind the scenes. Sisk tells her to release a prisoner for the sake of a contributor to the Governor. He surprises her by making her the new chairman expecting more cooperation.
Sissy Spacek is great. I kinda remember this story from the news. Jeff Daniels is also great as something more than his normal nice guy. The ending is a little bland. The courtroom has some nice turns but the tension flattens out. More could have been done with Kevin's character. This is a compelling true story with some good acting.
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