Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank stars in the true story of Betty Anne Waters, a Massachusetts working mother who puts herself through law school in order to free her brother, Kenny (Sam Rockwell), from death row. A resolute cast shores up a glorified Lifetime movie. Swank is at her plucky, jut-jawed best and receives solid assistance from Rockwell, Minnie Driver and, in one terrific scene, an unearthed Juliette Lewis. Waters' devotion is praiseworthy, but the writing by Pamela Gray (Music of the Heart
and A Walk on the Moon
) contains no surprises, even when real life affords them: Flashbacks to Betty Anne and Kenny's childhood separation into different foster homes pass without elaboration, and you'll have to consult Wikipedia to learn Kenny's post-incarceration fate.