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Movie Review: Conviction

Alternate Title: I Am My Brother's Keeper

Story: Sibling rivalry is the stuff of great drama. Devoted sibling relationships usually fall into the syrupy realm of the Lifetime or Hallmark TV channels. So does this true life story about a dedicated sister who spends 20 years of her young life trying to get her brother out of prison for a murder he did not commit pass muster? It did for me.

Betty Ann Waters, after her brother's appeal goes down the tubes, decides to get her GED, get her Bachelor's degree, go to law school and then get her brother out of prison. If this were not a true story I would not have bought it. However, I was touched by the story and the across the board acting. The film was ably directed by Tony Goldwyn and written by Pamela Gray.

I tend to like films about social injustice and triumph over adversity. That good old 'can do' spirit, when handled well makes for a fine movie going experience. Even though it is somewhat formulaic, it is two hours that will touch your heart. You might even want to call your sibling after watching the film. I did.

Check out the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4Y7z-cI7j8

Acting: Nobody does the underclass heroine better than Hilary Swank. She knocks another one out of the park in her performance as Betty Anne Waters. Sam Rockwell as Kenny Waters was also terrific. Minnie Driver as good friend Abra Rice looks fabulous and had all of the best lines. One of my favorites, Melissa Leo as bad cop Nancy Taylor was, as always, good. It has been a long time since we have seen Juliette Lewis as Roseanna Perry and she was missed. Peter Gallagher as Barry Scheck was fine as was the rest of the supporting cast including: Ari Graynor (Mandy Marsh), Loren Dean (Rick), Conor Donovan (Richard), Owen Campbell (Ben), Tobias Campbell (Young Kenny), Bailee Madison (Young Betty Anne), Clea DuVall (Brenda Marsh), Karen Young (Elizabeth Waters), Talia Balsam (Prosecuting Attorney) and John Pyper-Ferguson (Aidan).

Trivia: Sadly, Kenny Waters passed away just six months after his release. He fractured his skull when he fell from a 15-foot wall while taking a shortcut to his brother's house after a dinner with his mother. He was 47 years old and had spent more than a third of his life in prison for a crime he didn't’t commit. Read all about the case of Kenny Waters and the The Innocence Project here. http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Kenny_Waters.php The New York Times had a follow up article on Betty Ann Waters. Read it here. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/movies/13waitress.html Martha Coakley, was the district attorney in 2001 when the real-life story of Kenneth Waters was playing out. She is not depicted well in the film. She, as you know, ran an abysmal campaign and lost Ted Kennedy's Senate seat to Scott Brown.

Predilection: I like true stories brought to the big screen.

Critters: A little dog.

Food: Mac and Cheese, Peas, Carrots.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: Bushmill

Soundtrack: Time appropriate.

Opening Titles: All titles are at the end.

Theater Audience: About 50 other fans.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 0

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: I welled up a few times.

Oscar Worthy: There might be a supporting nod somewhere.

Big Screen or Rental: G for the big screen

Length: Under two hours