Sandra Bullock Is Back in Another Netflix Blockbuster! All About The Unforgivable, Including a Few Spoilers!
Following the success of Bird Box, Sandra Bullock is back with what’s sure to be another Netflix blockbuster. The Unforgivable had a long journey to American screens: The film was first developed in 2010 with Angelina Jolie in mind for the leading role of Ruth. It took nearly a decade, however, to get it off the ground, and in 2019, Bullock attached herself to star alongside Viola Davis. Filming started in February 2020, but was then further delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bullock, who’s also a producer on the project, told Entertainment Weekly that The Unforgivable is both a drama and a mystery.
“My character is someone who has been incarcerated for 20 years for a pretty heinous crime [and] gets out,” she said. “There are several people whose lives she affected by this crime she committed, and there’s a lot of hatred and anger and bitterness and sorrow associated with her release. She wants to find this one person, the only family she had when she went in, and you keep asking yourself, ‘Why can’t you let it go? This family member was traumatized by your actions—let it go! Stop harming these people all over again.’”
She added, “Finding out the background to the story of why she did what she did is sort of the whodunnit of this. It’s a murder mystery within a very complex character drama.”
Now, it’s finally on the way. Here’s everything to know about The Unforgivable, including all of the drama, twists, turns, and trauma from its source material—as well as who’s who in the cast and how to watch. Beware, however, of potential spoilers ahead!
What is The Unforgivable movie about?
In The Unforgivable, Ruth (Bullock) is released from prison after serving 20 years behind bars for killing a police officer. She attempts to rebuild her life while searching for the younger sister she was forced to leave behind when she went to prison—but she finds it difficult to assimilate back into society. Not only does her past haunt her, but she’s also threatened, harassed, and judged by almost everyone she encounters—as well as some sinister players who she doesn’t see, but who want revenge.
What is the crime in The Unforgivable movie?
Bullock’s character Ruth kills a police officer in The Unforgivable, though the details are vague. She serves two decades in prison for the crime, and in snippets of the trailer, she claims that she was merely trying to protect her younger sister.
Is The Unforgivable movie a true story?
The Unforgivable isn’t based on a true story, but it is based on a UK miniseries called Unforgiven. The three-episode saga first aired in 2009 and follows the same plot as Bullock’s movie, right down to many of the characters’ names. However, not surprisingly, the British series takes place in the UK, not in the U.S. like The Unforgivable does.
Suranne Jones, who played Ruth in the original miniseries, told BBC that the experience was a unique one because female inmates are rarely explored in film.
“Mainstream TV hasn’t really explored the subject of women prisoners and that’s certainly what attracted me first and foremost. Women are supposed to be nurturing and maternal, so it’s got a big pull just from that,” she said. “It was certainly not a job I hesitated about doing. It was one which I did a big belly flop into and enjoyed.”
She added, “Ruth is an odd character. She is not necessarily likable, and it’s a hard task to get an audience to come on your journey with you when you’re playing someone with that background. But that was the intriguing part.”
What happens in The Unforgivable trailer?
The Unforgivable trailer opens with Ruth leaving prison, interspersed with footage of her getting a phone call while behind bars. The caller, who isn’t revealed in the trailer, tells her, “You’re gonna pay for what you did.”
We see Ruth trying to make her way back into the normal swing of things while simultaneously getting threatening phone calls and having flashbacks to her past. She begs for access to her younger sister, Katie, who she raised, and meets with attorneys to try to see her while everyone around her debates whether her cop-killer history should stick to her forever or if she can be redeemed.
One scene in particular that sent social media into a tizzy features Bullock and fellow Oscar winner Viola Davis, who yells at Ruth, “You are not a victim!” In other snippets, Davis points out to her husband (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) that white privilege allowed Ruth to walk away from murdering a police officer alive, where one of their Black children would likely not have survived the encounter.
SANDRA BULLOCK AND VIOLA DAVIS IN ONE FRAME. AGAIN, SANDRA AND VIOLA. pic.twitter.com/1Whktgucng
— (@bluishhillary) October 26, 2021
Are there The Unforgivable plot spoilers?
While it’s unclear if The Unforgivable will follow the plot of Unforgiven exactly, but if you’re looking for potential spoilers for The Unforgivable, here’s what happens in Unforgiven:
Ruth serves 15 years of a life sentence in prison after killing two police officers when she was a teenager. Her probation officer reveals that Ruth’s younger sister, Katie, has been adopted, but notes he can’t tell Ruth where she is because of a no-contact order. Katie was adopted by Michael and Rachel Belcombe, and that Katie’s name has been changed to Lucy. They also have a daughter of their own named Emily. Lucy, struggling with the pressures of college, gets into a serious car accident that leaves her in a coma. While adjusting to “the life outside,” Ruth begins working in a meat factory, where she meets Brad, a coworker with whom she begins having a romantic relationship.
John Ingram, a family lawyer, and his wife and Izzie and their family move into Ruth’s childhood home. Ruth visits the property and asks for help getting in touch with Lucy, and John eventually agrees to aid Ruth, believing she’s served her time and can be redeemed. (Izzie is nonplussed at the idea.) John gets Ruth in touch with the Belcombes, but it doesn’t end well: She learns that the Belcombes never gave Lucy the letters Ruth wrote to her for years. The Belcombes’ other daughter, Emily, takes pity on Ruth and writes Ruth an anonymous letter letting her know where Lucy goes to college. Ruth goes to see Lucy, who has since mostly recovered from her car crash, but Ruth doesn’t muster up the nerve to speak to her, and instead just watches her from a distance.
Meanwhile, Steve and Kieran Whelan, the sons of one of the police officers that Ruth killed continually harass her with threatening phone calls and plot to kidnap Lucy as a means of getting revenge on Ruth—when Kieran isn’t sleeping with Steve’s own wife. (Yes, it’s messy.) Steve kidnaps Emily and calls Ruth, who’s still lurking around Lucy’s college, and tells Ruth that he kidnapped her sister. Ruth gets help from Izzie, who feels guilty for her previous behavior towards Ruth, to help her inform the Belcombes about the kidnapping. Izzie and Ruth reveal the truth about the past to Lucy during a drive to rescue Emily.
Who is in the cast of The Unforgivable?
The Unforgivable cast is full of dramatic heavy hitters.
- Sandra Bullock stars as Ruth Slater, a convict who attempts to rebuild her life following her incarceration
- Vincent D’Onofrio as family attorney John Ingram
- Viola Davis as Liz Ingram
- Jon Bernthal as Blake, Ruth’s coworker and love interest
- Richard Thomas as Michael Malcolm
- Linda Emond as Rachel Malcolm
- Aisling Franciosi as Katherine Malcolm
- Rob Morgan as Vincent Cross, Ruth’s probation officer
- W. Earl Brown as Mac Whelan, the police officer Ruth killed
- Tom Guiry as Keith Whelan, son of Mac Whelan
- Will Pullen as Steve Whelan, Mac’s son and Keith’s brother
- Toby Hargrave as Stan
- Jessica McLeod as Hannah
Other cast members whose roles haven’t yet been revealed include Emma Nelson, who likely plays the remake’s version of Emily Belcombe.
Bullock was both overjoyed and intimidated to work with such an acclaimed group of stars.
“I don’t care where you think you are on the level of talent on your acting scale, if you place yourself opposite those who are far better than you, they will only elevate you,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “I was so scared. I was basically making a silent film for my character, and I was like, ‘If I fail with my emotional inner life, we’ve lost the storytelling.’ But I would get opposite these tremendous human beings, and you just go, ‘thank you‘ to be opposite talent like that. Everybody dreams about it. And then here we had it.”
How to watch The Unforgivable
The Unforgivable will have a limited theatrical release on Wed., Nov. 24, 2021, and will stream exclusively on Netflix starting Fri., Dec. 10, 2021.