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USA: Sony Pictures Classics
UK: Redbus Film Distribution
Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter, Kirsten Dunst, Dorian Harewood, Geoffrey Wigdor, Luke Robertson, Billoah Greene, Catherine Colvey, Manuel Aranguiz, Tony Calabretta, Chris D'Arienzo, Lucinda Davis, Tod Fennell, Gillian Ferrabee, Ajay Fry, Jane McLean, Conrad Pla, Lucy Robinson, Greg Shamie
Director: Ed Solomon
USA: 100 mins
UK: 101 mins
USA Rated: R for language
UK Certificate: 15 contains strong language and sex references
USA Release Date: 4 April 2003 (Limited Release - New York)
UK Release Date: 19 November 2004 (Limited Release - London)
Manual Jordan (Billy Bob Thornton) has done his time. The parole board has declared him fit for release. But he'd prefer to stay in jail. Manual killed a man. Not even a man, a young kid helping out in a convenience store. Ever since, Abner Easley has stared down at Manual from the wall of his cell, a yellowing newspaper portrait of a young life cut short.
Now Manual is out. He is changed, unrecognizable, but he is drawn irresistibly to the city where he committed his crime. What is he looking for? Forgiveness? Redemption?
Manual meets an enigmatic, fast-talking pastor, Miles Evans (Morgan Freeman), who offers him work at a community house in a tough neighborhood. In return, Miles provides Manual with a room where Abner Easley's photo is soon once more prominent. But while Manual confronts his ghosts, Miles keeps on running from his.
Just like Sofia (Kirsten Dunst), a beautiful young woman apparently intent on selfdestruction, who regularly requires Manual's aid to make it back home from the hip nightclub next door to the community house.
But the person Manual really wants to help is Adele (Holly Hunter), Abner Easley's sister. Adele's son, also named Abner, is a rebellious young man, heading down the path that Manual knows so well. But in trying to befriend Adele and young Abner, maybe Manual is simply trying to redeem himself.
As his feelings for Adele develop, Manual learns that he can help people believe in their future but he cannot erase his past.