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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Two messages come across clearly: First, that loyalty is a virtue, especially when bolstered by faith and love. Betty Anne never wavered in her belief that her brother was innocent, and it strengthened both of them. (The downside was that she clashed with others who did have doubts, sometimes destroying relationships.) Second, that you can achieve anything with focus and hard work. No matter how long it took, Betty Anne was determined to become a lawyer.
Positive Role Models
The siblings' support and love is truly admirable, especially in light of their difficult upbringing. Their parents weren't role models; they only had each other. And though they're different in many ways, Betty Anne and Kenneth respect each other as individuals. Neither was saintly, but being a good person doesn't mean being perfect.
Violence & Scariness
Disturbing images from a crime scene; graphic photos of a body are shown during trial. Much discussion of how a victim is killed. A man head-butts another during a bar fight. A character shows cuts he made on his wrists in an attempted suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Couples kiss and flirt.
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Language includes many uses of "s--t" and "f--k," plus "bitch," "c--ksucker," "damn," "hell, "ass," goddamn," "oh my God," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Signage and logos for Coca-Cola, Bushmill, Boston Globe.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult characters smoke cigarettes; they also drink in bars, sometimes to the point of inebriation.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this fact-based drama celebrates one woman's tenacity and loyalty to her brother. It's uplifting and fairly moving, but given the heavy subject matter -- crime, prison, and difficult odds -- it's too intense for younger viewers. Some scenes depict characters examining graphic crime scene photos of a
murdered woman, and the film begins with cameras moving through a house in which someone has been killed in a violent crime. There's also frequent swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k") and references to suicide. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
If CONVICTION were a present wrapped up in shiny paper and tied with a big red bow, it would have "Happy Oscar nomination!" stamped on it specifically for Swank. The film seems engineered for maximum make-the-audience-feel effect, with a compelling storyline and a heartwarming message about family loyalty and tenacity. Swank cries, persists, moves, overcomes, and survives: the perfect awards concoction. The movie is inspirational with a capital "I."
Despite that transparency and that fact that it follows the typical conventions of the courtroom-drama-with-uplifting-ending genre, Conviction is, cynicism aside, quite moving. How can you not sympathize with a woman who isn't merely a figment of some screenwriter's imagination but an actual human being who displays such fortitude and faith? How can you not admire a sibling relationship that encourages such dedication? Rockwell gives his performance ample bite without undercutting the film's tender message; whenever he's onscreen, he compels. And though there's something a little mechanical in Swank's Best-Actress-y repertoire, she makes us forget that she's a Hollywood actress playing make-believe. Art imitates life, and what a powerful movie it made.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.