Critics Consensus

Less compelling -- and more manipulative -- than it should be, Conviction benefits from its compelling true story and a pair of solid performances from Swank and Rockwell.



Total Count: 186


Audience Score

User Ratings: 32,755
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Movie Info

CONVICTION is the inspirational true story of a sister's unwavering devotion to her brother. When Betty Anne Waters' (two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank) older brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) is arrested for murder and sentenced to life in 1983, Betty Anne, a Massachusetts wife and mother of two, dedicates her life to overturning the murder conviction. Convinced that her brother is innocent, Betty Anne puts herself through high school, college and, finally, law school in an 18 year quest to free Kenny. With the help of best friend Abra Rice (Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver), Betty Anne pores through suspicious evidence mounted by small town cop Nancy Taylor (Academy Award nominee Melissa Leo), meticulously retracing the steps that led to Kenny's arrest. Belief in her brother - and her quest for the truth - pushes Betty Anne and her team to uncover the facts and utilize DNA evidence with the hope of exonerating Kenny. -- (C) Fox Searchlight


Hilary Swank
as Betty Anne Waters
Sam Rockwell
as Kenny Waters
Minnie Driver
as Abra Rice
Melissa Leo
as Nancy Taylor
Peter Gallagher
as Barry Scheck
Ari Graynor
as Mandy Marsh
Tobias Campbell
as Young Kenny
Bailee Madison
as Young Betty Anne
Clea DuVall
as Brenda Marsh
Karen Young
as Elizabeth Waters
Talia Balsam
as Prosecuting Attorney
Juliette Lewis
as Roseanna Perry
Thomas Mahard
as Law Professor
Laurie Brown
as Law Professor 2
Rusty Mewha
as Desk Sergeant
York Griffith
as Desk Sergeant 2
Marc Macaulay
as Officer Boisseau
Frank Zieger
as Boyfriend
Iris Ingram
as Guy's Girlfriend
John Lepard
as Minister
Jake Andolina
as State Trooper
Wallace Bridges
as Global Van Lines Witness
Marty Bufalini
as Defense Attorney
Doug Hamilton
as Medical Examiner
Sarab Kamoo
as Blood Expert
Hugh Maguire
as Trial Judge
Michele Messmer
as Mrs. Brow
Annabel Armour
as Social Service Woman
Toya Brazell
as Court Clerk
Heather Kozlakowski
as Jury Foreman
Matthew Hollerbach
as Law Student
Zack Fealk
as Law Student 2
Linda Hurd
as Bar Exam Woman
Paul Burt
as Prison Guard "Stash"
Gary Davis
as Prison Guard 2
Rick LeFevour
as Prison Guard 3
Ethan Cutkowsky
as Neighborhood Boy
Gordon Michaels
as Lt. Daniels
Alana Jo Beckman
as Neighborhood Girl
Ethan Cutkosky
as Neighborhood Boy
Eddie Hurch
as Courthouse Clerk
Jane Alderman
as Mrs. Halloran
Janet Ulrich Brooks
as Dr. McGilvray
Jennifer Roberts
as Martha Coakley
Linda Boston
as Release Judge
Kam Carman
as Reporter
Julio Ho
as Reporter 2
Peter Carey
as Reporter 3
Melissa Bickerton
as Admissions Counselor
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News & Interviews for Conviction

Critic Reviews for Conviction

All Critics (186) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (125) | Rotten (61)

Audience Reviews for Conviction

  • Jul 10, 2012
    The movie worked not because of the overwhelming script but because it was indeed based on a true story. It never ceases to amaze me witnessing this kind of touching story, that human being are in fact humane after all. Powerful performance by both Swank and Rockwell, even Minnie Driver and Melissa Leo played their part well. Give it a go! 7.5 / 10
    Mesh B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 04, 2012
    "Conviction" opens with Abra(Minnie Driver) curious about Betty Anne(Hilary Swank), who as she puts it, seems to be the only law school student in her class past the age of puberty. Well, it's funny she should ask because it is a long story that begins in 1980 in Ayer, Massachusetts when her brother Kenny(Sam Rockwell) is arrested on suspicion of murder by Officer Nancy Taylor(Melissa Leo). With his long history with the criminal justice system, it is no surprise that he does not take the charge that seriously. Three years later, it is no laughing matter when he is convicted on the same charges on circumstantial evidence and has a hard time adjusting to prison. Frustrated that nobody else seems to care, Betty Anne swears she will get a law degree to help him, after she gets her GED and BA, of course. If "Conviction" was not based on a true story, it might not be easy to take seriously, as it is the stuff of 50's melodramas. That would be a mistake in any case, as the movie tells a compelling story that is well-acted, especially by Sam Rockwell. The movie is also grounded nicely in its tale of sibling loyalty. While it is mentioned in the film about the sacrifices that Betty Anne has to make in her pursuit of justice, one could also take the opposite position by pointing out the education she now has which can open doors, once unimagined, to her. So, just remember, never give up hope.(Since this is Massachusetts we are talking about, there is sure to be a baseball metaphor around here somewhere.) Nor should you when it comes to anybody behind bars, considering some of them may be innocent like Kenny.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2011
    Conviction could have been a compelling, extremely moving, and heat-warming story, but the way Tony Goldwyn and the cast of Conviction tell it, it's not so gripping (boring even at parts) and compelling, but it tries to manipulate the audience to care, to cry, to cheer. But to tell the truth, it got about half-way. There is almost no history to these characters, and there are a lot of people to remember the names of, and we are supposed to hate, or love these people, but we don't know much about them, nor have we seen much of them either. The performances by Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis, Baliee Madison, and Tobias Campbell are what keep this film above water. See this film for the extraordinary performances, if for nothing else.
    Raymond W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 21, 2011
    I thought this was a great story to tell. The film didn't amaze me, but I enjoyed it.
    Sarah P Super Reviewer

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