Enable Javscript for better performance
'The Unforgivable' review: An effective but flawed drama starring Sandra Bullock- Cinema express

The Unforgivable Review: An effective but flawed drama

For lack of a gutsy ending, this film doesn’t quite pack that decisive punch

Published: 20th December 2021
A still of Sandra Bullock in The Unforgivable

What stops Sandra Bullock’s film The Unforgivable from reaching its potential is that Ruth Slater’s (Bullock) heart-wrenching story isn’t quite anchored. Bullock’s performance as a matronly figure, who tries her best to keep her sister safe despite harm to herself, tries to make this a moving experience, but we never get to hear as much as we should about the trauma this character suffers from.

Director: Nora Fingscheidt
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Vincent D'Onofrio, Viola Davis, Jon Bernthal
Streaming on: Netflix

The Netflix film begins with Ruth’s release from jail, with the screenplay flitting between her actions and that of her young sister, Katherine Malcolm (Aisling Franciosi), a student who holds a secret from her worried mother. This back-and-forth narrative creates a connection that gets stronger when Katherine meets with an accident.

The parole release means that Ruth, who hopes to reconnect with her little sister Katherine, must follow a list of stifling rules in the real world. And we slowly learn more about Ruth’s past that unfolds in fragments, a metaphor for Ruth’s own fragmented efforts at rebuilding her life, including getting herself a lawyer. And yet, for every step she takes forward in leaving her identity as an ex-convict behind, she gets dragged down by a society that refuses to forgive her. She gets further driven to frustration, by a personal betrayal.

A still of Ruth in The Unforgivable

The film attempts to be a study on how society is harsh on certain people trying their best to rebuild their lives. However, it doesn’t sink deep enough into Ruth’s responses, apart from showing us occasional violent outbursts which serve only to alienate us from her pain. Furthermore, certain characters fail to get worthy arcs—for instance, the character played by Viola Davis, which fails to do justice to her acting ability.

The film doesn’t stray from the ending of the British show it is based on, and writers Peter Craig, Hillary Seitz, and Courtenay Miles replicate the cathartic ending, in which a performance of “Everything in Its Place” crescendoes along with a not-so-surprising twist. For lack of a gutsy ending, this film doesn’t quite pack that decisive punch.

Related Articles


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.