7.2/10
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108 user 180 critic

Conviction (2010)

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2:30 | Trailer

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A working mother puts herself through law school in an effort to represent her brother, who has been wrongfully convicted of murder and has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction through public defenders.

Director:

Tony Goldwyn

Writer:

Pamela Gray
9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hilary Swank ... Betty Anne Waters
Sam Rockwell ... Kenny Waters
Thomas D. Mahard ... Law Professor (as Thomas Mahard)
Owen Campbell ... Ben
Conor Donovan ... Richard
Laurie Brown ... Law Professor 2
John Pyper-Ferguson ... Aidan
Minnie Driver ... Abra Rice
Ele Bardha ... Don
Melissa Leo ... Nancy Taylor
Rusty Mewha Rusty Mewha ... Desk Sergeant
Marc Macaulay ... Officer Boisseau
Bailee Madison ... Young Betty Anne
Tobias Campbell ... Young Kenny
Frank Zieger Frank Zieger ... Boyfriend
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Storyline

Betty Anne Waters (Swank) is a high school dropout who spent nearly two decades working as a single mother while putting herself through law school, tirelessly trying to beat the system and overturn her brother's (Rockwell) unjust murder conviction. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An extraordinary journey of how far we go to fight for our family. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 November 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Betty Anne Waters See more »

Filming Locations:

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$102,351, 17 October 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$6,783,129, 26 December 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Pamela Gray spent eight years on the project. The project was on, then off in 2004 when Universal pulled the plug. In 2007 independent financing was found, and Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, and Minnie Driver agreed to the low budget effort. See more »

Goofs

While Swank and Rockwell are talking in the prison visiting room, the voices of their characters remain clear, unobstructed, and loud, despite camera angles changing to long shots, through windows, and from behind at a distance. Normally in editing, there is an attempt to mimic how the sound would be received by the viewer if they were in the camera's position, such as when music playing on a car stereo decreases and is muffled when heard from someone outside versus inside the car. See more »

Quotes

Betty Anne Waters: You are innocent!
Kenny Waters: Are you sure about that?
Betty Anne Waters: [crying] How can you ask me that? How can you ask me that?
See more »


Soundtracks

Long Train Runnin'
Written by Tom Johnston
Performed by Andrew Fairgrieve, Robert Piela, Hunter Dixon & Chris Fichter
Licensed by Arrangement with Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI)
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User Reviews

 
Swank Is Back with a Sharp Cast in an Inspiring Fact-Based Story Bordering on Incredulity
23 October 2010 | by EUyeshimaSee all my reviews

After making decidedly wrong turns into rom-com in 2007's "P.S. I Love You" and historical biopic in 2009's "Amelia", Hilary Swank is back in her element as Betty Ann Waters, a working-class single mother of two whose fierce loyalty to her troublemaking brother Kenny knows no bounds, in actor/director Tony Goldwyn's time-spanning, fact-based 2010 drama. Written by Pamela Gray (she and Goldwyn also collaborated on 1999's affecting "A Walk on the Moon"), the inspiring, potentially melodramatic plot line often borders on incredulity, but Swank's trademark iron-jawed tenacity is on full display here. At the same time, it's a primarily economic performance teetering on lunacy as her character is tightly bound to Kenny since they shared a painful childhood due to the neglect of a horrifying mother.

In 1983, Kenny is convicted of the bloody murder of an elderly neighbor largely on the basis of testimony from two former girlfriends, both of whom claimed he confessed his actions to them. Neither Kenny nor Betty Anne can afford a good attorney, so she decides to become a lawyer even though she's a high school dropout. Also serving as one of the film's executive producers, Swank come back securely to the against-all-odds territory of Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) by following Betty Ann's sixteen-year journey from her GED through college, then law school, and finally passing the bar – all while she was raising two boys and working part-time at a local pub. The ending is predictable from a mile away, but the journey is not. The introduction of DNA evidence provides a linchpin that spins the story close to Lifetime-level dramatics, especially when Betty Ann solicits the assistance of the Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization devoted to overturning wrongful convictions. Gray's screenplay is solid enough, and Goldwyn's direction is assured within the back-and-forth treatment of the timeline.

However, it's really the acting that is aces here. Beyond Swank's sterling work, Sam Rockwell brings an unpredictable furor and a surprising vulnerability to the showier role of Kenny. His rapport with Swank never feels forced, and the devotion of their sibling relationship is what really grounds the threat of hysterics in the film. The periphery is populated by a powerful squad of actresses turning in sharply etched work - Minnie Driver as Betty Ann's law-school friend Abra, whose comic spark highlights how pivotal her character is in representing the audience viewpoint; Melissa Leo ("Frozen River") as the malevolent arresting cop, whose secretive hostility provides the impetus for Kenny's conviction; Juliette Lewis as Kenny's dentally-challenged ex-girlfriend with a drunken confession scene that reveals the actress's long-forgotten raw talent below her usual giddiness; Karen Young in a brief scene as the unforgivable Mrs. Waters; and Ari Graynor ("Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist") as Kenny's embittered grown daughter. It's the cast's cumulative work that makes this movie intensely watchable.


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