|Hilary Swank & Mr. Will-W.|
One of the films I looked forward to seeing most at TIFF 2010 is Tony Goldwyn's Conviction, formerly know as Betty Ann Waters. Let's face it though - its parallels to Erin Brokovich are undeniable: unlikely woman hero defeats the legal system with hard work, love in her heart and undying.... conviction. The film received its world premiere earlier today at the VISA Screening Room.
The film stars double-Oscar winner Hilary Swank as a single mother with a waitressing job who put herself through Law School to have her innocent older brother Kenneth (Sam Rockwell) released from prison. He was serving a life sentence for a murder he did not commit. It sounds unbelievable, but it really happened.
Although the film doesn't quite soar to the same tearily emotional you-can-do-it heights The Blind Side did, it is a satisfying journey and an eye-opening portrait of how many changes have been made in the Legal system and the impact DNA identification has had on it.
Swank rarely disappoints despite having taken a few missteps lately like Black Dahlia and Amelia, but she is back in familiar territory again here as a tortured soul with a fighting spirit. She is my co-favourite Actress alongside Kate Winslet and it was an extreme honour to have been one of the few who got to meet her and believe me, many were trying to get to her, a vision of gorgeousness in a back-revealing blue number.
Supporting performances from Clea Duvall, Ari Graynor, Melissa Leo and Juliette Lewis also are stellar across the board, with Lewis somehow managing to steal the show in one scene and a mouth full of rotting teeth. She plays an ex-girlfriend of Kenneth's who winds up testifying against him in court. Minnie Driver plays Abra Rice, Betty's best friend who also studies to be a Lawyer and the chemistry between her and Swank is wonderful. Rockwell is endearing in this endless emotional rollercoaster and one cannot help but fall in love with his vulnerability.
Although today's screening was marred by focusing issues with the projector, the emotions shined through the blur as the audience responded with a standing ovation for both its fantastic acting and the real Betty Anne Waters' attendance.
Conviction will be released October 15, 2010 via Fox Searchlight and needs to be watched with tissues. Lots of them. Grade: A
View more photos of the premiere below:
|Betty Anne Waters, Abra Rice|
Also, a video from today's Q&A with Goldwyn discussing his casting choices will be posted in a bit.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)