This movie should be renamed Wonder Woman, because that’s really who Hilary Swank’s character is. The film is captivating, cry-worthy, and I’m sure totally Oscar buzzed, but what really impressed me was the strong, powerful, and inspiring female presence throughout. With such a star-studded, vag-fest of a cast including Hilary Swank, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo, Juliette Lewis, and Sam Rockwell how could it not? The film tells the incredible true story of Betty Anne Waters (played by Swanky Swank), who puts herself through high school, college, and law school over an 18-year struggle, with two sons and a divorce, to become a lawyer, and overturn her brother’s (Sam Rockwell) wrongful conviction as a first degree murderer and free him from his life without parole sentence.

As I’m sure we’ve all observed the majority of mainstream movies with female plot lines almost always revolve around either relationships, weddings, marriage, children, affairs, or divorce (often all in one, e.g. Sex and the City the movie). However this story never dwells on those factors of Betty Anne Waters’ personal life. We just follow her amazing journey to free her brother, and witness all the kick-ass stunts she pulls. There were so many opportunities for the plot to veer, and at times I thought it would, but it was so refreshing to see otherwise. We do see Hilary Swank’s character struggle with motherhood, as this more than daunting endeavor takes over her whole life, and we don’t always love her character for this, because she becomes a little crazy and manic obsessive, but I think that particular bareness is part of what made this film so enthralling.

Swank, Driver, and Rockwell all give outstanding performances, but Juliette Lewis takes the meth-laced cake. She goes through such an unbelievable transformation to become the toothless, trashy drunk she plays that she was definitely my favorite part of the movie. Seeing Swank and Driver hit it off, as bff’s is also really awesome. They are both strong, smart women, really devoted to each other, and I don’t think we once have to listen to them gab about relationships. This movie is just loaded with great female roles. Even the arresting officer is a woman (played by Melissa Leo). Although she’s a major villain in the story, the filmmakers still managed to find a way to address the difficulties lady cops have to face and prevalence of rape on the force.

At times it is hard to get past how hard Hilary’s character works, and how much of herself she sacrifices, to save her brother, an irresponsible reckless excuse of a man, but their bond is beyond strong and there is so much love between them that you can’t help but understand. Yeah it’s all for a man, but she gets a law degree out of it and finds out the extraordinary feats she’s capable of. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

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photo sources: www.nydailynews.com, www.kdvr.com

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