Triumph in the face of impossible odds always makes for a compelling story. Conviction is the story of an uneducated single mother, Betty Ann Waters (Hilary Swank) who puts herself through law school to free her brother, Kenny (Sam Rockwell), who was wrongfully found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Betty Ann’s struggle is an incredible story of tenacity and devotion, culminating with the Innocence Project using modern DNA analysis techniques to assist her in proving that her brother was not the perpetrator.
Much of the early part of the movie is shown as flashbacks to young Betty Ann (Bailee Madison) and Kenny’s (Tobias Campbell) childhood, showing how a strong bond formed between them as they are raised in a series of foster homes after being taken from their absentee mother. It progresses to Kenny being arrested for murder, and his trial. At this point Betty Ann returns to school, and is befriended by Abra Rice (Minnie Driver), who becomes her trusted confidant and the voice of reason in her life.
Despite experiencing setback after setback, Betty Ann pushes forward, and eventually learns of the Innocence Project and DNA testing. Once she passes the Bar exam, she begins the search for the evidence from Kenny’s original trial, and testimony to prove him innocent. Police corruption is discovered, and eventually Kenny is freed.
Hilary Swank does an excellent job portraying Betty Ann Waters. Her facial expressions, acting and body language all were very convincing and made the character shine. She is well complimented by Sam Rockwell, who is extremely good at demonstrating Kenny’s extremes of emotion and behaviour. The feel of the movie is also appropriate as the story passes through the decades and hairstyles and fashions change accordingly.
If you’re in need of inspiration, this is the movie to see. The powerful and uplifting story of Betty Ann’s struggle against the judicial system and police corruption shows the necessity of organizations like the Innocence Project.