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Conviction (2010)

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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:

The incredible true story of Betty Anne Waters See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | 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

The movie was nearly 10 years in development. See more »

Goofs

At one point Betty Anne Waters Hilary Swank tells Kenny Sam Rockwell that it's a good thing Massachusetts doesn't have the death penalty or he could already be dead. This however is incorrect. Massachusetts still had the death penalty in 1983, when Kenny was convicted. It was abolished the following year in 1984. See more »

Quotes

Kenny Waters: [after seeing the media people and the police surrounding him] What the fuck?
Nancy Taylor: Kenneth Waters? You're under arrest for the murder of Katharina Brow.
Kenny Waters: Are you out of your fucking mind? You let me off two years ago!
Nancy Taylor: We've got you know.
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Connections

References Babe (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

My Sharona
Written by Doug Fieger (as Douglas Fieger) and Berton Averre
Performed by Andrew Fairgrieve, Robert Piela, Hunter Dixon & Chris Fichter
Licensed by Arrangement with Wise Brothers Music LLC (ASCAP), Eighties Music (ASCAP) and Small Hill Music (ASCAP)
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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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