I have yet to find a Sandra Bullock movie I do not like. From The Proposal to Ocean’s 8 to Bird Box, not one has ever left me disappointed. And let me tell you, Bullock’s most recent Netflix film, The Unforgivable, is no exception.
The Unforgivable is a dramatic thriller directed by Nora Fingscheidt, and it’s based on a 2009 British miniseries more simply titled “Unforgiven.” It follows Ruth Slater, an ex-con just getting out of prison after serving a 20-year sentence for murdering a police officer.
As the film progresses, we learn that Ruth has a little sister named Katie (Aisling Franciosi), who was just 5-years-old when her sister got locked up. Upon her release in Wisconsin, Ruth sets out to find Katie, who was put into foster care and later adopted. This won’t be easy since Katherine’s parents have spent years keeping her past concealed.
I have to be honest. The film starts slow. There wasn’t a ton of dialogue, and the tone is dark and somber. I had no idea where the plot was going to go or what was going to happen next. I found myself fidgeting and struggling to keep myself focused.
Thankfully, this changed when later in the film, Ruth visits the old house where the murder occurred. New characters, including a lawyer named John (Vincent D’Onofrio) and his wife (Viola Davis) add some extra intrigue to Ruth’s search for Katie. It’s an impactful plot development painting the way toward a possible second chance for Ruth. Maybe she isn’t so unforgivable, after all.
At the same time, the two sons of the cop Ruth murdered set out for revenge, and to make matters worse, new revelations complicate that tragic death of the past, as we learn more and more about what we really happened 20 years ago.
The Unforgivable, as you can imagine, is about more than just whether or not someone can be forgiven for what they’ve done. It’s about how society scowls at those it deems guilty of crimes through the trial of public opinion. And what people are willing to do in order to protect the ones they love.
This is also a movie with plenty of chills, and even some tears by the end. Everything is not always as it seems. And no one is irredeemable for that very reason.
Going into this film, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it might end up being another clichéd story about a person who did something bad in their past and then turns their life around somehow. And while this isn’t a bad story to tell — and I do believe people have the capacity to change their ways — I wondered whether The Unforgivable would be too much like every other film I’ve seen with this similar synopsis and thumbnail. But it wasn’t. All I can say is…you need to watch it, and if you miss it? Well, I suppose that’s forgivable.
Set a reminder on your phones because The Unforgivable starts streaming on Netflix on December 10! Watch the trailer here.