'Conviction' Reviews: Amazing True Story Disappoints

Brittny Drye

ConvictionConviction starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell opens today. It's based on an incredible true story of a sister who spends 18 years attempting to clear the name of her brother, who's been sentenced to life without parole for murder.

She accomplishes a long-overdue GED, then goes on to college, law school, and eventually passes the Bar, while raising two boys, all so that she can represent her brother and prove his innocence.

This sounds like it would be an amazing movie. It has all of the right elements (drama, suspense, real-life struggles), but the critics seem to think it fell short ...

A.O. Scott, The New York Times:

It would be easy to dismiss “Conviction” on the ground that it plays like a made-for-television movie, but the truth is that, as often as not, movies made for the small screen are better than this: braver, darker, more willing to explore odd corners of feeling. This film, distinguished by a cast capable of something grander, is more aptly an example of the kind of creative paralysis that can result from the attempt to do justice to real events.

Matt Stevens, E! Online:

Conviction covers lots of personal and legal ground but shifts through time periods, including flashbacks of the sibs' rough-and-tumble upbringing, with efficiency and ease. Though lacking the complexity of Erin Brockovich, which it frequently brings to mind, the pic still hits the right emotional notes and (mostly) restrains the melodrama.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune:
This is an inspirational true story worried less about turning dramatic screws than earning its feeling through character.
Betsy Sharkey, LA Times:
Convction is an exceedingly earnest ripped-from-the-headlines story of a sister's saving grace and the salvation possible with DNA typing. Yet the film falls short of delivering the outrage and uplift that should have come easy for this true-life fight against justice denied.
Are you planning on seeing Conviction?


Read More