How far would you go for a loved one? How about one convicted of a brutal first degree murder? So is the story of Conviction, based on the real life events of Betty Anne and Kenny Waters. Conviction stars Hillary Swank as Betty Anne and Sam Rockwell as Kenny. They are a brother and sister who experience more than their fair share of hardships. The siblings suffer at the hands of abusive, negligent parents and eventually are separated to end up living in seven different foster homes. However, the love and bond between them is strong and sweet. As the two grow older, Kenny often finds himself at the wrong end of the law. He is the ultimate charming derelict, not really dangerous but always walking the line of trouble. When a woman in his town is brutally murdered, he is questioned as a suspect and released. Two years later, in the middle of a family funeral, he is arrested for said murder. Betty Anne never once questions Kenny’s involvement in the murder. To her he is never anything but an innocent man loosing 16 years of his life in a prison for a crime he did not commit. Her love for him is so unwavering that she makes it her personal quest to save him. She gets her GED and eventually graduates from law school so she can represent him in court herself. Of course all of this hard work comes at a cost. Betty Anne loses her family and there are times where she literally almost fails in more ways than one. Combine this with a system fraught with deceit and situations of incompetence, and Betty Anne’s perseverance becomes all the more admirable. The beauty of this movie is that it is not heavy handed. Given the ugliness of the Waters situation, you could stumble out of the theater feeling completely depleted. Instead, the storyline is handled with love and a lightness that makes the impact of this inspirational story so much more poignant. With a lineup of Academy Award winners and nominees, you know the acting is going to be good. Hillary Swank’s Betty Anne maintains softness throughout the intensity of her circumstances. Sam Rockwell as Kenny veers between simmering anger and silly sweetness. Having a small part with major effect is Juliette Lewis. As a key witness, she is fascinating describing her involvement in Kenny’s incarceration. Minnie Driver rounds out the cast as Betty Ann’s savvy and supportive law school friend. Conviction is a real story about real people who fight the odds and win. It’s a good fight, the right fight, as with all good stories, it ends victoriously. Go cheer on Betty Anne and Kenny. Then hug someone you love, take a breath, and appreciate your life a little bit more.
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.