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Manual Jordan (Thornton) is a man caught between two worlds: the one he left behind 22 years ago when he was incarcerated, and the one into which he is released today. Out of jail, with nowhere to go, Jordan returns to the neighborhood where he committed the crime that still haunts him.
Almost by accident--or fate--Manual is drawn into the life of an inner city community center run by the enigmatic pastor Miles Evans (Freeman), where he meets Sofia Mellinger (Dunst), a beautiful and privileged wreck of a young woman.
While Sofia is unable to deal with the present, Manual wrestles with his past, seeking to reconcile his troubled conscience as he pursues a tenuous relationship with Adele Easley (Hunter), the older sister of the boy he killed.
When Adele’s troubled teenage son becomes embroiled in his own cycle of violence, Manual sees what might be one last opportunity for true redemption.