Heart-wrenching role for Hilary

HILARY Swank is never one to shy away from a gutsy working-class role and let’s face it, it hasn’t done Julia Roberts’ career any harm.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 21st January 2011, 9:25 am

The plucky underdog collected her first Oscar in 2000 for her portrayal of a murdered transgender teenager in Boys Don’t Cry.

Then five years later, she added another to her collection for her performance in Clint Eastwood’s tear-jerker, Million Dollar Baby.

Now, she gets to channel her own Erin Brokovich by tackling another crusading real-life heroine in Conviction.

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Inspired by the story of a sister’s unwavering devotion to her jailbird brother, Tony Goldwyn’s film condenses an extraordinary 18-year quest for justice into a courtroom thriller that confirms one woman can make a difference.

Betty Anne Waters (Swank) is a wife and mother of two who has always defended her troublemaker older brother, Kenny (Sam Rockwell).

In 1980, Kenny is questioned about the murder of diner waitress but is released without charge. Two years later, a pair of ex-girlfriends claim Kenny confessed to the murder and seal his conviction, resulting in a life sentence without parole.

Refusing to accept the verdict, Betty puts herself through college and law school in order to prove her brother’s innocence.

Screenwriter Pamela Gray stacks the odds heavily against the heroine, leave us cheering in the aisles when it seems she might have finally discovered a fatal flaw in the prosecution’s case.

Conviction is a remarkable story that provides Swank with a meaty central role which brings tears and fury in equal measure.

But whatever you do, don’t find out what happens after she springs him from jail. It will totally bum you out.