A (true) story about perseverance if there ever was one, Conviction has “awards-bait” written all over it. That, as we know by now, it’s almost never a bad thing. Usually that plea for attention and accolades is backed by a compelling story and solid performances, which is precisely what this film offers so selflessly. The heart of Conviction is the beautiful relationship between Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) and her deeply troubled brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell). Swank is stunning as usual, but it’s Rockwell who’s flawless. He’s definitely the highlight of the film and Academy members would be crazy not to nominate him this year. The first half of the movie felt a little Lifetime-ish for my taste, but for the second half, it decided to grow a pair. Betty Anne’s unwavering and even unsettling persistence grows with each second and it’s even more evident by now. She’s determined, yes, but her eyes are open and she’s not willing to take anybody’s crap anymore. A brief (but key) scene that includes a completely transformed Juliette Lewis takes place during this act as well, and it’s amazing. Melissa Leo continues a remarkable streak with the portrayal of an outright detestable police officer.