Director: Nora Fingscheidt
Story By: Peter Craig, Hillary Seitz, & Courtenay Miles
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, Will Pullen, Richard Thomas, Linda Edmond, Emma Nelson, Rob Morgan, & Aisling Franciosi
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I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I turned this film on. I am just a fan of Sandra Bullock, and figured if she was part of that it had to be decent…and it was for the most part.
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Below are my grades for key components in #TheUnforgivable that I find to be key in any story/film/series—Theme, Plot, Pacing, and Character (pertaining to arc/development &/or delivery). FYI: My A=95, A- =90, B=85, B-=80…etc. My D- =60 and my F=50
Additionally, I have added an entertainment factor scale to help you determine whether or not the film is something you’d be interested in taking time out of your weekend, evening, or day to watch. The scale range consists of: Worth the Watch/$$$, Interesting Enough (if looking for something new to start, OR experience is intentionally relevant to the genre and executed well–nothing more), Wait for Streaming, Don’t Rush, & Don’t Watch.
I have also added a few non-spoiling thoughts, wonderings, and comments as I watched the film to help give some rationale for my grades and entertainment scale.
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Plot & Story: B
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General Public: Worth the Watch
Film Enthusiasts: Interesting Enough
Experience Seekers (via Visuals & Score): Don’t Watch
Thriller/Drama Fans: Interesting Enough
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1. A woman attempting to reconnect with her little sister after serving 20 years for a crime is met with obstacles of revenge, the system, and guardianship—this is The Unforgivable.
I found this story to have pretty good continuity, and I appreciated how the story gave space for me to get a glimpse of the separate characters and their potential role in moving the plot in Act One, to the separate storylines intersecting and impacting our main character in Act Two (either upfront or in the shadows) that ultimately drives the intensity in Act Three.
My issue with the story is the correlation between the time frame and Bullock’s look. I mean, it’s been 20 years and I can’t tell. There were also moments that were left on the table and never addressed, like Bullock’s statement about Katie having trouble sleeping… 🤷🏾♂️
2. Wait a min…not “no scrubs” 😂😂
3. I actually appreciated the interpretative ending. No matter what reason I have for that “moment,” it still felt like a resolution for Ruth Slater to some degree. 👍🏾
4. Viola Davis was a surprise cast member! Giving Annalise IF she would’ve prioritized her family over her career. 👀
5. So the film does move well. I never found myself bored, or feeling like there was dead space for the most part (except for scenes where Bullock is planting flowers…I assume the attempt was to show how “soft” and “caring” this character was despite her actions?…but that’s a “character” conversation).
Now where I did start to have an eyebrow raise was around Act Two with the film’s rushing of the Whelan family conflict in order to move the plot for tension connected to Bullock’s character. Steve seemed like the reasonable one, so why did that one moment in the bedroom push his buttons to suddenly be like his little brother? It felt extremely forced, and I personally think the ending could’ve been much more eventful had Steve and Keith swapped, and maybe Liz and Steve swapped, and added in John Ingram… 🤷🏾♂️
6. A message that stuck out to me touched on the impact/power of family devotion, and it was probably one of the strongest thematic follow throughs I’ve seen this year. 👍🏾👍🏾
First, each character displayed not only individual relationships with family devotion as it related to their own worlds/storylines, but those relationships also played a role in shaking up the relationship Bullock’s character was having with being devoted to her family (which was key to her motivation).
Then, each act gave space for me to see how family devotion existed, and its accessibility for each character. This helped with the showing the story’s obstacles of revenge, the system, and guardianship.
It was actually well done.
7. No lie, but some things were a little predictable around the second to third act. 🤷🏾♂️
8. Now…it’s been over 20 years… why did you think that was her sister?🤦🏾♂️
9. The pancake scene where Katie’s back is to the window…I really loved how that was shot. 👍🏾👍🏾
10. As already alluded to with my unpacking of the theme, characters were solid in executing what I saw to be key ideas for the film. Bullock gave a solid performance that owned the theme through and through.
However, as also alluded with my unpacking of pacing, there were certain things the film forced upon characters that took away from feeling logical or realistic. Not only with the Whelan brothers, but also with the parole officer. Most statements he made felt aggressively belittling and exaggerated—it sounded like rich people who never lived the life attempting to write from the perspective based on deficit thinking “research and theories.” I wasn’t a fan.
Then there were scenes that I guess were supposed to be juxtapositions to an angry, loose cannon character via Bullock, but that wasn’t what I got. What I saw was a woman who felt hurt, non-existent and untrusting; not malicious and violent. There was only one scene where she was physically violent (which felt forced, especially due to it being 1 time + what we end up seeing in Act Three), and a few moments where she had a potty mouth (which felt more believable for the woman I saw). Bullock delivered Ruth well, but the writing for Ruth could have used a little more time in the oven. 🥴
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Overall #TheUnforgivable gives Losing Isaiah – meets Herself – meets Brother (Mon Frère) – meets Act 3 of The Color Purple.
It’s not a film to brag or be extremely excited about, but it is a well executed film that comes with no regrets if you take a chance to watch.