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Joseph saw to it that Hank was sent to a youth detention center, and Hank left Carlinville after never receiving acknowledgement from Joseph for turning his life around.
Hank also reconnects with his old girlfriend Sam (Vera Farmiga), whom he abandoned after going to a Metallica concert more than 20 years ago.
But Joseph sabotages the case by testifying that although he still cannot remember the accident, he has come to believe that he probably did kill Blackwell intentionally.
Joseph confesses on the stand that he was personally haunted by Blackwell's case, having seen Hank in Blackwell, and wanting to help him like he would his son.
Having misread Blackwell, Joseph afterward saw him in Hank.
Hank agrees to defend Joseph and learns that his father was undergoing chemotherapy.
A well-educated psychiatrist leaves an academic career to work at an institution where his father, a novelist, lived before writing a renowned children's book. See full summary » I was tempted to give up on this movie very early on.
It seemed odd, sluggish and pretentious in that ' Touched by an Angel' sort of way. The movie tries very hard to be heart-warming and self-important to the point that I imagine turns off many viewers. Despite its over-earnest nature, the movie succeeds in being a feel-good movie thanks to a well-written story and some superb acting by a group of relative unknowns.
Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) is a successful defense attorney in Chicago who has been estranged from his family in a small town in Indiana for some time.
While in court, he receives a call telling him his mother has died.