Who's In It:
HIlary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo
The Basics: It's the true story of Betty Anne Waters and her years-long struggle to get her brother freed from a Massachusetts prison after he's framed for murder in the 1980s. When lawyers couldn't help, she got her GED, went to college and then to law school, all so she could represent him and collect new evidence, finally using DNA evidence (an option that hadn't existed at the time of his conviction) to get him acquitted. In other words, a huge uphill climb, making this sort of The Next Karate Kid of lawyer movies. In real life, after she got her brother sprung she went back to managing her neighborhood bar, which is probably a much cooler and less stressful job than dealing with other jerkface attorneys all day.
What's The Deal: I don't see most Lifetime movies. Don't have time. Not interested. Also, there are thousands of them. That'd be a major watching challenge. So while I'm very pleased with your personal triumph over adversity and I commend you for all of your hard work in getting out of that abusive relationship with a guy played by Corbin Bernsen and then going on to become the first lady-sniper in the Navy Seals or whatever, everything you need to know about these films is usually right there in the title. Having said that, this Lifetime movie is a really good Lifetime movie, cut thick like a fried potato wedge at Chili's, dipped in Academy Award-flavored dressing and, dang it, kind of moving. And I told myself I wouldn't cry.
Hilary Swank, The Queen Of This Sort Of Thing: I like how she's found her career niche, playing real people and making you care about whatever their story is. Brandon Teena, Amelia Earhart, that nice English teacher in Freedom Writers who got her students to believe in themselves, that scientist in The Core. Alright, the Amelia Earhart movie was really awful and dull, but you get what I mean. She's extremely likable and fake-authentic in that earnest way you want an actress to be in movies like these. One of these days she's going to play Eleanor Roosevelt. Unless she already has.
Supporting Cast That Can Do This Stuff In Their Sleep: Sam Rockwell, as the convict bro, paces around like a sad caged animal. Minnie Driver is the sassy, reality-check friend. And chameleon-like character actor Melissa Leo is the bad, bad, bad cop. They all approach their jobs here exactly like you've seen them do it in other stuff more or less just like this before, but you won't mind the feeling of repetition. It's more comforting than annoying.
Who'll Hate It: People in Massachusetts who're sick of how everyone winds up sounding like Mark Wahlberg whenever a movie is set there, and sticklers for facts, like the one about how the real life brother tragically died in an accident not long after his release from prison.