THE UNFORGIVABLE (2021) Reviews of Sandra Bullock Netflix crime drama

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The Unforgivable is a 2021 American crime drama film about a woman who is released from prison after serving a sentence for a violent crime – she re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past.

Directed by Nora Fingscheidt from a screenplay co-written by Peter Craig, Hillary Seitz and Courtenay Miles, based on the British TV series Unforgiven by Sally Wainwright.


The American-British-German co-production stars Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Bernthal, Richard Thomas, Linda Emond, Aisling Franciosi, Emma Nelson and Will Pullen.


“All the actors are good, and Bullock admirably has no hesitation about making Ruth someone we occasionally dislike. The Unforgivable removes all shading from its over-stuffed story, though, presenting every single plot development in the most obvious, heavy-handed manner possible. The movie desperately wants you to be moved. That desperation ensures you aren’t.” The Aisle Seat

The Unforgivable doesn’t remain tethered to reality long enough, with the last act sliding downward with turns of plot that are too artificial to believe, transforming a reasonably stern effort into a bad television movie. The production doesn’t recognize the value of sticking with Ruth’s deeply personal crisis and her legal interests to see Katharine, inventing violence and twists to give viewers and artificial sense of closure instead.”

” …crafts some powerful moments within its fairly straightforward narrative framework. That’s mostly due to Bullock, whose understated portrayal generates hard-earned sympathy […] The Unforgivable withholds specific key details to preserve its final-act revelations, which undermines the intended emotional playoff.” Cinemalogue

“The plot’s twists and turns, which were manageable in a three-part TV drama, look contrived and unlikely in a feature film and Bullock has little to do but look self-consciously solemn and martyred for the entirety of it.” The Guardian

“For a genre picture, Unforgiveable is surprisingly offbeat. It settles into dramatic rhythms and then shocks you with violence. It leans into some tropes while flipping others. Bullock gives us an old-fashioned star turn at the center of an equally-celebrated supporting cast and gives a young woman director from her mother’s homeland a big break. Call Unforgivable a mixed bag, but an intensely watchable one.” Movie Nation

“On its face, it seems to be a drama indicting the justice system and the way we let those who’ve “paid their debts” languish and suffer unsupported. However, it also tries on the shape of a mystery seemingly not trusting that anything less is dramatic enough. Then, the show still pushes for more. It becomes a legal drama, a family drama, and in a genuinely rage-inducing turn, a thriller-style revenge plot.” The Spool

” …a tightly-drawn Bullock is fully in tune with Ruth’s pain, making her extreme introversion an evident side effect of trauma rather than personality. Because Ruth keeps so much inside, Fingscheidt uses every element to create a sensory connection between this difficult character and the audience […] All of this fine work does bring us back to the fact that there’s too much here, and too little time in which to explore it all.” The Wrap

Release date:

The Unforgivable will stream on Netflix on Friday, December 10th 2021.

Cast and characters (in credits order):

Sandra Bullock … Ruth Slater
Viola Davis … Liz Ingram
Vincent D’Onofrio … John Ingram
Jon Bernthal … Blake
Richard Thomas … Michael Malcolm
Linda Emond … Rachel Malcolm
Aisling Franciosi … Katherine Malcolm
Emma Nelson … Emily Malcolm
Will Pullen … Steve Whelan
Tom Guiry … Keith Whelan (as Thomas Guiry)
Jessica McLeod … Hannah Whelan
Rob Morgan … Vincent Cross
Andrew Francis … Corey
W. Earl Brown … Mac Whelan
Neli Kastrinos … Katie (5 Yrs)
Orlando Lucas … Ryan Ingram
Jude Wilson … Daniel Ingram
Paul Moniz de Sa … Contractor
Craig March … Foreman
Alistair Abell … Police Sergeant
Donavon Stinson … Police Officer
Patti Kim … Patty
Jessica Charbonneau … Waitress
William Belleau … Bob Farrior

Technical details:

1 hour 52 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital


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