User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39

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  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. Each and every player is dynamite, especially Sam Rockwell and Juliette Lewis. A definite must-see!
  2. Nov 14, 2010
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. When unconditional love tampers with your brain, it can make you say the most illogical things. Seated at a bar table, Betty Anne Walters(Hilary Swank) announces to her party in a voice full of conviction, that the man on the dance floor, her brother, who in the next minute will proceed to threaten a man's life with a broken beer bottle, would make a good dad. Poor Mandy. Aunt Betty is f*cked-up. Good dads don't bring their babies into bars; good moms, too. In Ben Affleck's "Gone Baby Gone", the townie detectives(played by Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan) encounter the same sort of ignorance towards child safety when a bar patron interviewee misses the point completely by chastising Helene McCready(Amy Ryan) for bringing her baby girl to the pub...at night. What's the deal with Massachusetts? Betty Anne, it would seem, was dead wrong about her brother's future prospects as a responsible parent, since the film itself, in disaccordance with the sister's assessment of her older sibling, uses The Knack's "My Sharona", a sort of new wave update of Maurice Chevalier's "Thank God for Little Girls", over the soundtrack, almost unilaterally, while Kenny goes full Monty in his daughter's presence, which suggests that "Conviction" has an opinion of its own about the convicted felon that deviates from the official narrative. Catchy as hell, even in the hands of a two-bit bar band, the power-pop classic is also misogynistic and depraved, the very same qualities that embody the "good" father. Bolstered by the loaded song, a case for flawed gallantry can be made on behalf of Officer Taylor(Melissa Leo), since Kenny's railroading, arguably, rescues Mandy from a father who "always get[s] it up for the touch of the younger kind". "My Sharona" is not some innocuous pop song. It contextualizes matters. When Kenny holds his victim to the ground, with the jagged glass of the bottle just inches away from severing the man's carotid artery, you can hear him protect Mandy's good name with an intensity that's matched only by Betty Anne's devotion for her brother, an all-consuming relationship some would daresay as being Oedipal in nature, as it subsists at the expense of lapsed and lapsing, marital and familial alliances, beyond all reason. "My Sharona", with its weird incestuous overtones, suggests a bizarre love triangle, defused by Officer Taylor's creative police work, which sends Kenny to prison and Mandy off to child protective services. Until she suited her needs, Betty Anne doesn't contact Kenny's daughter for a long time, only doing so when her case dictated that the girl be contacted as a means of freeing her brother through Mandy's mother. She keeps Kenny to herself; her older brother, her protector, whose letters from prison she saves, like a lover, and who needs to be reminded by the guards during her visits that touching is absolutely prohibited. As children, the two would lie in Katharine Brow's bed and pretend that they were married. It's what tore them apart, after authorities arrived at the house and discovered their trespassing. Certainly, Kenny had motive. In "Gone Baby Gone", some law-enforcement chicanery engineered by Chief of Police Jack Doyle(Morgan Freeman) and Detective Sergeant Remy Bressant(Ed Harris) gives Helene's little girl a second chance, which is, in essence, what happens to Mandy, who grows up in the same "white trash" milieu as Amanda McCready. Betty Anne is similar to the Patrick Kenzie(played by Affleck), who stubbornly believes that a child belongs with its biological parent. But seriously, what kind of man was Kenny Waters? Although it's unforgivable what Officer Taylor did to this innocent man, the man portrayed in "Conviction" does seem like, as they say, a piece of work. The way he treats the female police officer, who is only doing her job, on the day she comes to question him about the Katharine Brow murder, gets ugly real fast, reducing the law enforcement officer into a sex object with derogatory names such as "buttercup" and "Angie Dickinson", names that become doubly hurtful, since Nancy is not a beautiful woman. He's being ironic. He's being Mel Gibson-like, in which Mad Max called a female police sergeant "*****t*ts" during his deposition following a DUI arrest in 2006. Gibson comes to mind when one of the witnesses(played by Juliette Lewis) refers to Barry Scheck(Peter Gallagher) as "that Jew lawyer from the tee-vee". It's bad enough that a girlfriend provided false testimony, but the mother of his child, too? Rather than get angry at the mother, Betty Anne should have tried to be objective for once, and reconsidered Kenny, whose own wife was willing to throw him in jail. What kind of man was Kenny Walters, anyway? The filmmaker has an answer; an answer in song. Expand
  3. 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 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.
  4. Nov 14, 2010
    6
    Conviction really is what many have coined as 'Oscar-bait'. It's one of those films that plays heavily to the emotion of it's audience, attempting to ignite that emotional reaction from you, at any costs. However, in Conviction's case, like Secretariat a few weeks back, it works and succeeds at that goal. It's a film with good acting, direction, and a solid script. Sure, it's kind of Erin Brockovich with some tweaking and tinkering, but Erin Brockovich was a damn fine movie, and Conviction is solid, even if on a lesser level. Sam Rockwell offers a huge breath of fresh air with a funny and moving performance as the imprisoned brother, even though most of the movie is kind of 'been there, done that'. Expand
  5. Feb 24, 2011
    7
    Rockwell and Swank give it all in this unbelievable true story. In the hands of a different director this could easily have been a very strong Oscar contender.
  6. Oct 26, 2010
    8
    Its horrible, melodramatic trailer does little justice for this surprisingly good drama. Sam Rockwell is perfect (as usual), and not only was I really invested in these characters, but I found myself questioning the brother's innocence throughout. It is far from a perfect film, but I absolutely felt invested in the story from beginning to end.
  7. Oct 23, 2010
    6
    For all of the pro criticism that this film plays like a lifetime movie, the fact is......the facts........ the movie intentionally goes for the simple truths, rather than enhancing it hollywood style to get sentimental. It's a thoroughly enjoyable movie, especially by the superlative cast. While Hillary Swank does her usual great work, Sam Rockwell is stellar as the hometown thug/goofball who turns into a beaten man. And Melissa Leo as the police officer who does him in is so startling real, I loved and detested her. Go see this movie for a grade A production of a decent script. Expand
  8. Nov 8, 2010
    8
    The movie overall was good. There were at times, I thought this was to be a lifetime movie, but then the performances and tight script made this a feel good movie. Juliette Lewis only on for like 10 minutes, but her performance was amazing. Hillary Swank I realized, is best when playing everyday ordinary people. The movie will get a couple of nominations.
  9. 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 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. Expand
  10. Mar 4, 2011
    8
    I just watched this movie and was impressed after watching it. Not a single performance is weak; not even the child actors seem to have trouble with their roles. The story is a bit of a heartbreaker, yet ultimately satisfying and rewarding. There were moments in the film that seemed a little too convenient (I won't spoil anything), and there are a few clichees throughout, but it's based on a true story, so I could tolerate these. Go see it, it won't take up too much of your time, and you'll be happy you watched it. Expand
  11. Apr 12, 2011
    9
    This movie was really worth watching. Story flow is very smooth. It shows how easily one can get convicted based on some lies, the biggest problem of the legal system. These mis-convictions can become really costly to individuals and families. The movie also shows how many loop-holes there are in the legal system, and because of that, it can take up to a few decades to resolve a case.
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: Steve Persall
    Oct 27, 2010
    67
    Imagination is the key element that Conviction lacks.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.