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Poncelet is a composite of the many men Sister Helen met throughout her visits to the Penitentiary.
At the same time, running parallel to this, he shows us the human side of the murderer who committed these crimes as they await society’s final judgement, in his last precious moments of life, thus creating a multifaceted examination on the death penalty debate.
He now faces the death sentence whilst Carl Vitello, his older accomplice serves a life term (20 years).
With Poncelet’s execution date getting closer, he attempt to get an appeal by contacting Sister Helen Prejean ().
As Sister Prejean slowly breaks down Poncelets arrogant exterior and emotional barriers, we are drawn into a powerful battle between remorse and approval and the question of what is justice.
Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn offer incomparably powerful performances that are truly faultless.
While Sister Helen is torn between her duty as a nun and the atrocities Poncelet has committed, their meetings become more frequent as she secures a state lawyer willing to take on the case.
While working towards changing Poncelets verdict to life, she visits the families he affected and discovers that they have no understanding for what she is doing and that their only wish is to see Poncelet die for what he did to their children.Susan Sarandon took home an Oscar for her performance.Alison Pill, Victor Garber, Denis O'Hare, Joseph Cross, Stephen Spinella, Lucas Grabeel, Brandon Boyce, Zvi Howard Rosenman, Kelvin Yu, Jeff Koons, Emile Hirsch, James Franco, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Diego Luna Marcia Harden, Laura Linney, Kevin Chapman, Thomas Guiry, Emmy Rossum, Spencer Clark, Andrew Mackin, Adam Nelson, Robert Wahlberg, Jenny O'Hara, Marcia Gay Harden, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Sean Penn Michael Fox, John Reilly, Thuy Thu Le, Erik King, Jack Gwaltney, Ving Rhames, Dan Martin, Dale Dye, Sam Robards, Darren E. Her harrowing experience served as the catalyst for her memoir, , which sparked a national debate on the death penalty and shed light on the emotional and ethical effects of capital punishment.The 1995 film, directed by Tim Robbins, stars Susan Sarandon as Sister Helen Prejean and Sean Penn as Matthew Poncelet, a fictional killer facing death row by lethal injection. Reilly, Don Harvey, Sean Penn Jennifer Leigh, Phoebe Cates, Ray Walston, Scott Thomson, Vincent Schiavelli, Amanda Wyss, D.