Movie: Conviction (2010)

Picture by Amazon
Conviction” [amazon.com, itunes.com, amazon.uk] is a movie about a woman that dedicated her life to proving her brother’s innocence, after he was convicted for murder. It doesn’t make it easy on us, because the brother does have some disagreeable traits, so we only hesitantly root for him and are never quite sure whether he is really innocent. The movie has a great script and a great cast with many familiar faces (Minnie Driver, Peter Gallagher, Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis). The New York Times article “Betty Anne Waters, Real-Life Heroine of ‘Conviction’” has more on the real events behind the story.
Betty Anne Waters seems like an intriguing individual: she became a lawyer just to help her brother and only practiced law once after freeing him. Three facts mentioned in the article:
  • The movie was 9 years in the making
  • In real life, Betty Anne and her brother were two of nine children, one year apart
  • Contrary to the movie, her brother pushed her to study law
Also omitted from the movie is what happened six months after the brother got out of jail:
Six months after Mr. Waters was freed, he fell off a wall while taking a shortcut home through the dark, hit his head and died. To people close to Ms. Waters, it was the cruelest kind of fate. Test audiences couldn’t take such a tragic ending, the filmmakers said, so the movie leaves it out. But Ms. Waters speaks of the loss without self-pity or bitterness.

“Kenny had the best six months of his life,” she said. After so many years behind bars, the world was new to him, she added. He was amazed by cellphones, confounded by the many unfamiliar gadgets blinking on the car dashboard. “He couldn’t wait to go to a Home Depot,” Ms. Waters said. “He had never been to such a big store before.”
On his relationship with his daughter:
After 18 years in jail Kenny also got to spend some time with his daughter Mandy, now 31, who was aged four when he was sent to prison. Betty Anne says: “She got to know her father. She is a lovely person.” [The Sun]
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