Letting Go of the Hate
It's been nine years since her son was killed by Jeff Parker (Cameron Bancroft - She Stood Alone: The Tailhook Scandal), gunned down following an argument, but Zalinda Dorcheus (Blair Brown) can't move on with her life despite others in her family try to keep on going. For Zalinda part of her pain comes from Jeff not being put on death row but given a life sentence and as such every time that he comes up for parole she attends the hearing to make sure he is never released, leading to stress and bleeding gastric ulcers. But as Zalinda's health starts to suffer because of the bitterness eating her away inside and seeing how her hurt is being transferred to her grandchildren she decides to visit Parker in prison to vent her anger but finds herself confronted by a man who is genuinely remorseful for what he did and not the monster she believes he was.
"Convictions" is a wonderfully simple yet powerful movie as we get a look at the life of Zalinda Dorcheus whose life has changed since the murder of her son. It has changed as the bitterness she feels towards the man who killed her son has come to define her, not only mentoring others who are going through a similar situation when it comes to parole hearings but holding on to the feelings as if it is holding on to the memories of her murdered son. And in a classic way we see not only how it is eating her up inside, changing who she is but also affecting the opinions of some of those close to her.
But what we get is the seeds of transition as some thing inside Zalinda leads to her wanting to meet Jeff face to face and whilst initially doesn't really know why over several visits the hurt and bitterness which has ended up defining her starts to ease. I am not going to tell you how exactly it happens but what this movie does is to show both sides of the story with Zalinda explaining to Jeff about the heart break she suffered.
What this means is that "Convictions" isn't the most dramatic of movies or event filled but more a gently paced contemplation on bitterness, hurt and moving on. And it is effective because many of the movie's best scenes revolve around the sessions between Zalinda and Jeff as they share their thoughts, pain and remorse. As such credit goes very much to Blair Brown and Cameron Bancroft for playing their characters in a sensitive manner.
What this all boils down to is that "Convictions" does a nice job of examining the grief and hurt of a mother who lost a loved one and has allowed the bitterness to eat away at her till it has come to define who she is. But it is also a well paced look at the healing process.