Conviction, Found DNA, And The Missing Fat

I was watching Conviction, a 2010 film based on a true story. It stars Hilary Swank as Betty Anne Waters and Sam Rockwell as her brother Kenneth Waters. Kenneth was convicted of murder and put in prison for life. Betty Anne, convinced of her brother's innocence, went to Law school and became a lawyer in order to prove his innocence and set him free. Key to this freedom was DNA evidence.
DNA testing was not an available technology at the time Kenneth was put into prison. A policewoman hungry for promotion and at any cost, had framed him. Years later, when Betty Anne became a lawyer, she heard about Barry Scheck's new work with DNA, and he agreed to work with her. But for the DNA testing to be done, the original evidence box had to be found. Betty Anne came across many barriers to finding this evidence, but she would not give up. She finally persuaded an official to look for it, going there herself and appealing to the clerk's better nature. The evidence was found, and it was a pivotal point in winning the case.
Betty Anne's victory was not without its price. She lost her marriage along the way, and life was very hard for her as she struggled to bring her children up, work at a bar, and study Law. With all that stress, surely, I thought, something was missing from the film. And she and her brother had sugary pop in their prison visits in the film. And yet everyone in the film seemed to have the same thing in common. They were all very slim. All except for Kenneth´s ex-wife, the baddie who was central in his conviction. Although not particularly fat, she was not very slim, and she looked unfit - the modern depiction of a villain, perhaps. When the film ended, the viewer is shown the real Betty Anne and Kenneth, and Betty Anne is not as slim as Hilary Swank, with Kenneth being decidedly more cuddly than Sam Rockwell.
It is really great film. I just cannot help wishing that more realistic actors are used. Real people that undergo so much stress and drink sugary drinks will be chubby. The film is beautifully acted, and the directing is excellent. You really empathize with the actors and feel you are there with them. However, as a practitioner dealing with eating disorders and body-image issues, I cannot help but know that many a young woman quite rightly looking up to Betty Anne as a role model will also look up to her as a very slim role model. For some of these young women, Betty Anne's success will be synonymous with Hilary Swank's super-slim figure. These women are easily influenced by films and pictures depicting an unrealistic body shape for them to strive for. Somehow, I see when a story is taken from real life onto film, it practically always depicts the heroine without the fat. Then when the credits are rolling at the end, you are also shown the real pictures or a real video of the heroine, and she is almost always chubbier than the actress who plays her.
My point can be summarized as this. If you have seen or want to see this or any other film based on a true story, get inspiration from the story, and then look at the original person this story is based on. That image is the real image associated with the hero. And yes, heroes come with a realistic layer of fat.
If you have not seen Conviction yet, I highly recommend it. Despite my quirky viewpoint, it is a great inspirational film.

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