There isn’t enough evidence to hold him. But a couple of years later, the cops pull Kenny in again for the same crime, this time armed with some damning testimony from a couple of ex-girlfriends who will swear in court that he boasted of having committede the murder.
His sister Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) is a barmaid with a couple of children. She’s married to a nice guy named Rick (Loren Dean). Like most everyone, Rick likes Kenny, and is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but only up to a point. When Betty Anne starts studying up to go to law school on a quixotic mission to exonerate her brother, Rick has had enough. Obsession in the service of a noble cause is admirable, but it comes at a price.
The film’s jumbled narrative structure eventually begins to straighten out, and we proceed with more singleness of purpose as Betty Anne goes to law school, visits Kenny in prison, gets discouraged, gets angry, gets tearful, skips classes, misses assignments, encounters setbacks, and struggles, struggles, struggles.
Understand that any undertone of exasperation that may creep into this review is not a reflection on the impressiveness of the real Betty Anne’s amazing accomplishment. It’s a reflection on the earnest tediousness of the movie, which, despite its compelling premise and its fine performances, eventually sinks under the setback-and-triumphand-setback repetitiveness of its Sisyphean story.