The Unforgivable has been at the top of Netflix’s most-watched charts every day since its release on December 10, keeping fans on edge with its various twists and turns.
Based on the ITV series Unforgiven, the film centers on Ruth Slater (Sandra Bullock) after her release from prison. She has been locked up for 20 years for killing a sheriff and is trying to rebuild her life, even if people refuse to forgive her for what she did in the past.
and that past hides a secret bigger than anyone knows, but can ruth continue to keep it as she rejoins society.
Since the movie takes place over multiple timelines, it can be challenging to keep up with what happened and when. that’s why we’re here to help with an explanation of that dramatic ending and the big twist that the unforgivable offers.
Of course, that means major spoilers are yet to come, so look away now if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
explanation of the unforgivable ending
When Ruth is released from prison, she is told that she is not allowed to contact her little sister Katie (Aisling Franciosi, The Fall), who was five years old when Ruth went to prison. Of course, the first thing she does, after getting a job in a fish factory, is to look for her sister.
We catch up with Katie, who is a college student and talented pianist, but clearly struggles with sleep problems and buried traumatic memories. this leads her to run a red light and get into a car accident.
He wakes up in the hospital with his adoptive parents Michael and Rachel (Richard Thomas and Linda Emond, respectively) and his sister Emily (Emma Nelson) at his bedside. Her parents ask her if she is taking her medication, and she says yes, although she later reveals to her sister that she is not because she finds it harder to play the piano.
meanwhile, ruth travels back to her old house to find a couple, jon and liz (vincent d’onofrio and viola davis respectively) living there with two children, and she tells them that she worked on the house, after you have built the hutch. in the hallway that she likes so much. ruth is acting weird, and when jon takes her to her house, he confronts her about why she lied to get into the house.
ruth tells him half-truths about what happened and that she is looking for her sister and asks jon for help (even though he is a corporate lawyer, not a family lawyer) and jon reluctantly agrees but he keeps it a secret from his wife.
As this unfolds, the dead sheriff’s sons, steve and keith, are struggling with the fact that ruth is out and seemingly living her life without caring about what she did to their father, and keith tells him he tells steve he wants revenge. Steve rejects his brother, saying that he has a family that he must take care of and that chasing after Ruth will do them no good.
back at ruth’s old house, liz confronts her husband about the work he is doing for her and they have a fight where she says ruth is not a victim and if what happened to her they Had it happened to their children, they would have already been killed. Jon, however, wants to continue helping Ruth, and Liz reluctantly agrees as long as she keeps her job out of her house.
after stumbling on a construction site, ruth gets a job as a carpenter (her proper trade) helping build a community center for the homeless, dividing her time between the two jobs and visiting with her parole officer ( rob morgan).
at the community center, she confronts steve, who has been following her, and they have a guarded conversation where, after discussing her parents’ deaths, ruth says “life goes on”, leading steve to want revenge. , too.
once she leaves, steve goes through her stuff and finds evidence of katie’s existence. He goes to Keith and suggests they kill Katie as revenge, to which Keith hesitantly agrees and they start stalking Ruth to find Katie.
at the fish factory, she meets and befriends blake (jon bernthal) and reveals that she is a convict. she explains her story: she was alone in her house with her much younger sister, her parents had died and she was being evicted. she to protect her house from her she shot the sheriff when she entered.
Hearing this, Blake rejects her. At work the next day, she is mugged by a woman whose father was a cop and realizes that Blake must have told someone her secret.
However, she gets some good news from Jon: Katie’s adoptive parents have agreed to a meeting which, of course, turns out to be a disaster. Ruth learns that the letters she sent from prison were never given to Katie, and she has no idea who Ruth is or what her relationship is; ruth loses her temper and ruins any chance of seeing katie through honest means.
Dejected, she trashes all the work she’s done at the community center. Later, she leaves for work and Blake apologizes for freezing when she told him the truth and reveals that he is also a felon and due to the rules of parole they are not even allowed to be friends.
meanwhile, emily checks the mailbox to find a letter from ruth, and finds the entire stack of letters, hidden in the basement, which she reads. moved by the truth, she contacts ruth and they meet in a park; Emily reveals when and where Katie is playing a piano concert and then leaves.
However, Steve has been following them all this time, doubly angry to find out his wife is having an affair with his brother, and mistakes Emily for Katie. Meanwhile, Ruth, buoyed by the fact that she finally got to see Katie, goes to Jon and Liz’s house to find Jon, who doesn’t return her calls.
liz and ruth argue about what they would each do for their loved ones and eventually ruth breaks down and reveals the truth. she had been on the phone with the sheriff who was sneaking into the basement to get her out of it as he told her that he would make room for them in her house while she recovered.
5-year-old katie, however, picked up the shotgun ruth had left by the door and went down to the basement, shooting the sheriff as he entered. Ruth took the blame for the murder and went to jail to protect little sister from him.
Moved by the revelation, Liz agrees to help Ruth; however, as they are about to get into the car, ruth gets a call from steve, who says he kidnapped katie and gives her location. Ruth asks Liz to take her to the general area and when she arrives, she realizes that Steve has the wrong girl.
A tense standoff ensues, with the police already on their way as well. After a fight, Ruth manages to overpower Steve, free Emily, and walk out of her with her hands up to be arrested.
however, her parole officer is on the scene and takes her into his custody, uncuffed, knowing she did nothing wrong (other than violating the order to see katie). Emily’s family is there, and Katie and Ruth lock eyes in the parking lot, before hugging.
The Unforgivable is now available to watch on Netflix.