Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 27, 2010
    88
    The magic in the film is in the actors. Only somebody who has stripped himself emotionally bare for the camera could achieve the level of performance that Goldwyn gets from every single SAG member on this set.
  2. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 21, 2010
    88
    This is an inspirational true story worried less about turning dramatic screws than earning its feeling through character.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Oct 21, 2010
    88
    Emerges as a potent inspirational story on the strength of its two lead performances.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Oct 21, 2010
    83
    The ever-magnetic Sam Rockwell is Kenny, Minnie Driver is full of beans as Betty Anne's best friend, Melissa Leo is wicked good as an ornery cop, and, in her two chewy scenes, Juliette Lewis reminds fans why we want her to run free forever.
  5. Reviewed by: Ray Bennett
    Oct 21, 2010
    80
    The film is in the tradition of fighting-the-system stories drawn from real life such as "Erin Brokovich," and its powerful emotional appeal should draw a substantial grownup audience.
  6. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Oct 21, 2010
    80
    A stirring, unforgettable motion picture experience, a superbly acted and courageous story of one woman who made a difference.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 22, 2010
    75
    The story is sustained by the stubborn love between the siblings and by the conviction of the two fine actors who portray them.
  8. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Oct 21, 2010
    75
    It's an amazing story, one that would seem too far-fetched if it weren't true.
  9. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 21, 2010
    75
    In Hilary Swank, the film finds the right actress to embody gritty tenacity.
  10. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 21, 2010
    75
    It's a noble enterprise, and a remarkable story, but it's not a movie that will set you free.
  11. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 21, 2010
    75
    Filled with nuance, intricate emotion and a refreshing absence of melodramatics, Conviction is a moving exploration of light and love shining through the darkness of despair. Its impact cannot easily be shaken.
  12. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 21, 2010
    75
    There is one aspect of Conviction that is a real cheat. No mention is made that Kenny, six months after his release from prison, accidentally fell and fatally fractured his skull. Did the filmmakers think that our knowing this would wreck a happy ending? For a film that prides itself on its realism, this omission is unspeakably wimpy.
  13. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 21, 2010
    70
    Swank and Rockwell, both typically great in almost everything they do, act as if their lives depended on it - their lives, not their characters'.
  14. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Oct 21, 2010
    70
    What takes Conviction out of the "Erin Brockovich" inspirational orbit - and gives it fresh interest - is the fact that Betty Anne is never portrayed as a fish suddenly taking brilliantly to judicial waters. Instead of being a legal savant, she's a persistent lunatic tilting at windmills for the sake of a familial love no one else can quite understand.
  15. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Oct 21, 2010
    70
    Sam Rockwell plays the brother, and in his handful of scenes he skillfully tracks the character's slow decay from cocky loudmouth to thoroughly beaten man; Swank, delivering her usual spunky turn, suffers badly by comparison.
  16. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 27, 2010
    67
    Imagination is the key element that Conviction lacks.
  17. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 21, 2010
    63
    Sam Rockwell has yet to find a movie as good as he is (Moon comes closest). He's still looking.
  18. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Oct 21, 2010
    63
    What Conviction lacks in characterization (the people here are monochromes - bright ones, but monochromes nonetheless) it makes up for with personality.
  19. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 21, 2010
    63
    The strongest, most consistent performance is provided by Sam Rockwell, who displays a wide and convincing range of emotions.
  20. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Oct 21, 2010
    60
    The story is so bounteous that Goldwyn can't quite get a grip on it.
  21. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 21, 2010
    60
    Based on a true story, the movie's best scenes involve its heroine breaking down barriers by force of will as much as by legal wrangling.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Oct 21, 2010
    60
    Some of the movie's most stirring scenes take place during Betty Anne's prison visits, when the laughter has stopped and her innocent brother contemplates his shattered life.
  23. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Oct 21, 2010
    58
    Conviction is like "Erin Brockovich" meets "Rudy."
  24. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    What's really missing from Conviction are the thorny questions it refuses to take up with any depth.
  25. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    Really belongs on Lifetime rather than in theaters.
  26. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    A story based on exceptional facts gets converted into an unexceptional movie.
  27. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    Ultimately, though, it's a little schizo, like a depressed dude in a clown suit, or a Theodore Dreiser novel hopped up on not enough happy pills.
  28. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    In all fairness, Swank's unsubtle performance is often an extension of the bluntly dumb lines she and other cast members must deliver.
  29. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    The film falls short of delivering the outrage and uplift that should have come easy for this true-life fight against justice denied. Unfortunately, that makes Conviction more a trial than a triumph.
  30. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    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.
  31. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Oct 21, 2010
    50
    Although fiercely committed performances by Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell provide director Tony Goldwyn's film with a core of emotional integrity, a less heavy-handed, more informative approach would have served them and the audience better.
  32. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Oct 21, 2010
    40
    For those of us with a love of actorly indulgence, though, the film is a treasure trove, filled with enough molten-gold performances to gild a thousand Oscars.
User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 11
  2. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Oct 31, 2010
    9
    I'm surprised none of these critics gave "Conviction" a four-star review. This is a touching, compelling story with a pitch-perfect cast.I'm surprised none of these critics gave "Conviction" a four-star review. This is a touching, compelling story with a pitch-perfect cast. Each and every player is dynamite, especially Sam Rockwell and Juliette Lewis. A definite must-see! Full Review »
  2. Oct 23, 2011
    2
    This movie was more of a drama. It may have been touching to some with a heartfelt story to it, but it put me to sleep in the first 30minutesThis movie was more of a drama. It may have been touching to some with a heartfelt story to it, but it put me to sleep in the first 30minutes and as I was hoping it got better but it got even more boring as they literally put you in her shoe's. Not my piece of cake. Full Review »
  3. Jun 2, 2011
    6
    The roles of three of its actors (Swank, Rockwell, and Leo) turn this inspiring courtroom/crime drama into a spectacle that owns yourThe roles of three of its actors (Swank, Rockwell, and Leo) turn this inspiring courtroom/crime drama into a spectacle that owns your attention, and in its moments, softens the most hard of hearts. What the viewer sees and feels is the avidity of deep-rooted dauntlessness versus the resistance of being told "no." Swank brings us there both with a vibrant smile that breathes optimism and a grimmace of heart rending dejection and despair. Rockwell also is impressive as he takes on a stock character--an arrogant, loud-mouthed yet charismatic drunkard, and a wrongly accused prisoner who is dark, mysterious, and increasingly more morose. Watching him deal with his battle against the clock, abated by his sister's similar scenario, is the familial compassion that spikes the film's pulse. Leo and Lewis are also very convincing in their respective roles as well. My only problem lies in certain points in the film (Swank and Driver "upping" their wardrobes to "look" like a lawyer) come across a bit too Disney and seem more fitting for Lifetime than the theater. The pathos brought about by the characters is excellent, only, when you start watching the continual tears run down Swank's face, you can feel the falsity, then you see the on-screen action take on the form of an acting audition--forced emotions and many eyedrops. The direction of the film is also "too good too be true" at times, again falling into the realm of "made-for-tv" entertainment. Overall, viewed topically, the film is a must-see, popcorn, Friday- night flick. Full Review »