Thursday, October 21, 2010

Movie Review: Convincing "Conviction"

The downside of living in upstate New York is that we are a gazillion miles from our friends and families.  When you don't get to see the people you love everyday it makes you realize how much you appreciate them.  So, we think it's fitting that we got to see a movie that tells a story of family ties when we actually had family in town.

With the Garrett grandparents visiting from Abilene, Texas, Heather & Brett had a double date to the movies!  Advanced screening tickets to Conviction sent the foursome back to downtown Albany at the Spectrum 8 Theaters.  Brett just insisted that Don & Peggy have some I Love New York Pizza before the show (after all, we have to show them our favorite things while they're here).

In a packed theater we watched the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Hillary Swank) unfold.  In 1980, Katharina Brow's body was discovered in rural Ayer, Massachusetts.  She had been beaten and stabbed more than 30 times. Three years later, Ayers Police authorities arrested Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell), a man who had grown up in the Massachusetts foster system and had been arrested several times before. He was tried and convicted of first degree murder.  His sister, Betty Anne refused to believe he was guilty.  A high school dropout, Betty Anne spent the next 18 years getting her GED, putting herself through college and then law school trying to overturn her brother's murder conviction.  With the help of her best friend Abra Rice (Mini Driver) Betty Anne retraces the steps leading to Kenny's arrest.  The duo enable the help of attorney Barry Scheck (Peter Gallagher) with the Innocence Project, a non-profit legal organization dedicated to proving the innocence of wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing.  Juliette Lewis was the standout performance in this movie!  Even with a small role, she managed to shine as one of Kenny's ex-girlfriends.

Don & Peggy give it 1.5 thumbs up!
The film flashes back and forth between Betty Anne & Kenny's childhood and their adult struggles.  Two of nine children sired by seven different fathers, the brother and sister share an unbreakable bond of sibling struggle.  Their story is sad, tragic and yet, inspiring.  Heather's parents would have loved it because it felt a lot like a Lifetime movie with better actors!  The Flanigans love LMN ya know!  We felt the film could have played up Kenny's murder trial and Betty Anne's accomplishments a little more.  Once you've seen the movie, be sure to Google Kenny Waters' name to find out what happened to the family after where the film leaves'll be surprised.  Overall, we enjoyed the movie and wouldn't be surprised if it comes up around award nomination time.

On a side note, Heather thinks the subliminal message in this movie was teeth:  Hillary Swank's big crazy horse teeth.  Ari Graynor (played Kenny's daughter Mandy) crooked chompers.  And O.M.G. you will not even believe what is in Juliette Lewis' mouth...  We know people from Massachusetts and their teeth do not look anything like that.

Here's the trailer: