I wanted to love this film but I couldn’t. Since The Unforgivable is based on a British mini-series, Unforgiven, which was released back in 2009, it’s safe to reveal some part of the story here. The plot is out there online everywhere, anyway. So, here you go:
Ruth Slater was convicted of a murder 20 years ago. The film begins from her release day. Once she is out of the prison, her parole officer helps her get a room to stay and a job to take care of her living. Along with the job that her parole officer has helped her to get, she also takes another job in carpentry where she gets a space to spend the night. Ruth Slater then actively starts looking for her sister, Katie who was taken into custody by the system and was put up for adoption while she was 5.
Ruth keeps writing letters to her sister from the prison so that she doesn’t forget her but her foster parents do not give them to Katie, trying to protect her from a murderer. In search of Katie, Ruth also visits her old house where the murder took place only to find out that the house is now occupied by an attorney and his family. She then requests the lawyer to help her know her sister’s whereabouts just to be sure that she is in safe hands. With a lot of convincing, John agrees to legally help Ruth. Along with the lawyer, she then meets Katie’s foster parents, all of it without Katie’s knowledge. What happens next is something that you must watch the film for.
While all of this is unfolding, Katie is having flashbacks. Sadly, she cannot remember what from her past is exactly bothering her. She sometimes remembers a woman but cannot recall her face. Katie is hence traumatised.
Now why did Ruth murder a cop and the way these two sisters were seperated 20 years ago is truly heart-wrenching. But.. Here’s a Bollywoodish twist that didn’t go down well with me.
The cop that Ruth killed, his sons are after her. What they see from the distance is that their father’s murderer is out of the prison and is living a normal life, as if nothing happened while the incident destoyed their childhood. While one brother is ready to forget and let go, the other wants revenge. Eventually, the one who wanted to let go abducts Katie’s foster sister thinking that she is Ruth’s real sister. All of this change of heart looks very sudden and forced simply to add a dramatic twist at the end right before the sisters are about to reunite. And then the guy lets go both the girls without any solid reason or valid explanation from Ruth for his father’s killing.
I also thought that a little more detailing or more focus on the sisters’ bonding or how Ruth was single-handedly raising Katie before the unfortunate event took place would have demanded emotional involvement from the viewers. That would have automatically given Ruth the empathy that the film was seeking for this character. In the entire film, though you understand the characters’ trauma, you do not emotionally connect with it. In this story’s case, it was very easy to make the audience feel for the film but that didn’t happen.
Nevertheless, it’s neither boring nor engaging. So, you can watch it if you want to or skip it completely – your choice. I think we should watch the award-winning TV series instead, that would be a smarter choice (only if it turns out watch-worthy).
Streaming On: Netflix