Directed by Nora Fingscheidt and with Sandra Bullock in the lead role, The Unforgivable is about a former criminal who tries to recreate her life after twenty years in prison. Convicted of a heinous crime that continues to persecute her even after she has served her sentence, Ruth fights for fair treatment and at the same time searches for her long-lost sister.
The protagonist’s emotionally harrowing journey lasts for decades, and the film explores in complex ways the small victories and crippling defeats she experiences on her way to reintegration. If you’re looking for more great movies like this one, we’ve got some great suggestions in store for you. Most of these movies, comparable to The Unforgivable, are available to watch on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Lion (2016)
More of a journey of discovery than reintegration, Lion touches some deep notes nonetheless and explores painfully difficult emotional barriers. The protagonist, who was separated from his family as a child, tries as an adult to rediscover the lost biological connections. Similar to The Unforgivable, the film depicts a past tragedy that still has an overwhelming impact on the main character’s life. As you may have guessed, Lion is inspired by real life and is based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley.
6. Paris, Texas (1984)
The film follows the dramatic and tortuous story of a drifter trying to reintegrate into society and re-establish relationships with his brother and young son. The turbulent journey Travis embarks on to find his family is reminiscent of Ruth’s equally dramatic story, trying to track down her younger sister Katherine. This critically acclaimed film is a very worthy follow-up to The Unforgivable indeed.
5. Healing (2014)
‘Healing’ follows convict Viktor Kahdem, who is serving the final days of his sentence on a low-security prison farm. The criminal forms an unlikely connection with an injured wedge-tailed eagle, and the two embark on an interesting parallel journey of healing (physical and emotional). The themes of reintegration and healing are as clear in this film as they are in The Unforgivable, and Viktor’s journey is as touching as Ruth’s.
4. The Reader (2008)
This is a multi-year tale that begins with the delicate affair between a college student and an elderly woman and grows into a story with truly remarkable depth. A decade after they met, the student meets his former lover in the most unlikely of all situations – a war crimes trial in which she has to defend herself. The multi-layered, nuanced emotions are masterfully processed, which makes this film both harrowing and inspiring at the same time. If you enjoyed the slow reveal in the flashbacks of The Unforgiven, then you’ll also enjoy witnessing the incredible story of The Reader.
3. Secrets and Lies (1996)
The film Secrets and Lies tells the story of a young black woman who reconnects with her birth mother after the death of her adoptive parents – a story about the search for her own roots. The stark differences in the life of the daughter and her birth mother make the film a heartbreaking experience, which is evidenced by a spectacular list of prestigious awards and nominations. The multi-layered storyline also creates a rich world for the emotional story as seen in The Unforgivable.
2nd existence (2021)
‘Passing’ deals with the complex racial dynamics of fair-skinned and dark-skinned people and explores them using the story of two childhood friends who find each other again after years. The film, based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Nella Larsen, is an emotional roller coaster ride in which the two protagonists go on a turbulent inner journey to reconcile their childhood with their lives today. Those who enjoyed watching Ruth slowly put their lives back together will enjoy this fascinating film with two parallel character studies.
1. Changeling (2008)
Set in the 1920s, this remarkable film is based on true stories and tells the story of a mother who is reunited with her missing son. But she soon realizes that the boy is not her son, but cannot convince the others to believe her. Christine Collins, who was soon to be considered mentally unstable and unsuitable as a mother, spent years looking for her son. We won’t tell you how it all turns out, but if you’ve already found Ruth’s heartbreaking journey in search of her younger sister, Christine Collins’ story will rock you to the core.