Review of Netflix’s “The Unforgivable”



“The Unforgivable” follows a woman in her reintegration into society after serving time for a violent crime, and her attempt at living a normal life in a world that refuses to forget her past. The Netflix original stars Sandra Bullock as Ruth Slater in this compelling drama.

Kaitlyn Drake, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – A little more than three years after starring in the Netflix hit “Bird Box”, Sandra Bullock is back with another kind of survival story. On Dec. 10, 2021, Netflix released “The Unforgivable”, a film based on the three-part British television drama by the same name, which originally aired in 2009. 

The film follows Ruth Slater, played by Sandra Bullock, who is released from prison after serving 20 years for killing a police officer, in her search for a normal life and the younger sister she left behind. Though trying to rebuild her life, she soon realizes the world has no plans of letting her forget the past, as she’s left at a run-down halfway house by her parole officer, can only get a job on the night shift at a fish factory and the sons of the officer she killed plan to seek revenge by taking the one she loves most: her sister.

Ruth’s younger sister Katie, however, was placed into the foster care system and has no memories of Ruth, baring only the wounds from that traumatic period of both their lives. 

The film also gives viewers a peek into the racial inequity in the criminal justice system through Ruth. 

As TheGrio states, “I couldn’t help but thinking about how this white woman was living through a situation that Black men and women go through all the time—because there are far too many of us in the criminal justice system—and if post-prison life was this hard for a white woman, imagine how hard it is for those of us who don’t have the benefit of white privilege.”

For some, the criminal justice system is a prevalent and looming entity, but for others, they will never be touched; the film touches on this topic quite well.

In preparation for the role, Bullock gained insight into the experiences of incarcerated women, stating her perspective in an interview with REEL360

“Every woman that I interviewed in prison all had the same beginning story, and I thought, why are we not making stories about that? About this system that doesn’t want people to succeed,” said Bullock. 

“The Unforgivable” is currently streaming on Netflix. If you are interested in thought-provoking survival stories, this film is definitely worth watching.