This movie is based on the true story of how, in 1980, a woman was stabbed to death in the small community of Ayer, Michigan. Kenny Waters (played by Sam Rockwell) was charged with the murder, found guilty and sentenced to life without parole. His sister, Betty Anne (by Hilary Swank) a single mother raising two sons never believed he did it and she decides to fight for his innocence. She starts off as a bartender and works hard to get a place in law school, then keep it while juggling her work and family commitment. She spends years in achieving a qualification so she can then re-open the case for Kenny’s defence. Betty Anne is relentless in her belief in her brother’s innocence – in the face of a series of barriers and disappointments. She will go to any length to prove that her brother didn’t commit the crime.
It’s a great story – her unwavering (and mostly solo) commitment to her brother is commendable, as he sometimes doesn’t really seem to deserve her belief in him.
Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell are excellent and the story is fascinating.