Convinced that her brother, Kenneth (Sam Rockwell), has been unjustly convicted of murder and incompetently defended by court-ordered attorneys, high school dropout Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) puts herself through law school in order to represent him in his appeal. Inspired by a true story, director Tony Goldwyn’s stirring drama also stars Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher and Clea DuVall. (Netflix)
So, first off, this is an amazing true story. What Betty Anne did for her brother goes completely above and beyond what most family members would do for each other. And the movie does a good job of showing that struggle. The interesting thing is that the trailer makes you think that the whole movie is about her being in law school. In reality, that only takes up the first 45 min. of the movie. The rest of the time is devoted to her working on her brother’s case. Which I’m glad they did because I think it led to a more interesting story. They also did a good job playing with time on this one. Jumping between her in law school, when her brother was first accused, and even time spent together as kids. Then skipping forward months even years once the whole law school thing is done. Time jumping can get confusing, and this was handled really well. Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell give great acting performances in this one. What was really impressive though was how they aged Sam Rockwell in contrast to the rest of the cast. It did a good job of really showing what prison can do to a person. The only fault is that it’s all just a little…dry. I don’t know how to put it really. I guess it just never had me leaning forward in my chair. But, I think it is still worth a watch one time for the amazing story and the acting performances.