Ruth, played by America’s second or third sweetheart (depending on where your love for Reese Witherspoon is these days), Sandra Bullock, has just been released from prison. She has been paroled after twenty years for shooting the head clean off a sheriff’s shoulders. Why? The bank tried to repossess her home where she and her little six-year-old sister live.
Now, she is starting over with a new BFF, her parole office (played by Rob Morgan), who gets her a job at a fish packing plant. There, she catches the eye of a man who has taken over the mantle of having the greatest mustache in Hollywood from Tom Selleck. That’s Jon Bernthal playing a fellow peer who just so happened to be paroled himself over a year ago.
Though, Ruth can’t seem to let go of the past. In a ridiculous encounter at her old home with a corporate lawyer and his wife, Jon and Liz Ingram (played by Vincent D’Onofrio and Viola Davis), Jon takes on her case to unblock the seal to her sister’s location. Meanwhile, the man she killed has two sons who can’t let go of the past and want to teach Ruth a lesson by finding her sister and killing her (yup… that’s logical).
Netflix film The Unforgivable ending explained
So, when Steve Whelan (Will Pullen) finds that his wife is sleeping with his brother, Keith (Mystic River’s Tom Guiry), with his infant child in the room next door no less, he snaps. So much so doesn’t grab a gun to shoot his brother. No, why would he? He wants to shoot Ruth’s sister, Katie (Aisling Franciosi), right in front of her. Except Steve is just as much a fuckup as his brother. He grabs the wrong girl! He holds Katie’s teenage sister, Emily (Emma Nelson), hostage.
That’s when Ruth is frantic and tries to meet her lawyers but gets the angry Liz instead. Then it all comes pouring out. Ruth never killed that cop. It was Katie! At six years old, she grabbed a shotgun, pointed at the back doors, and let off a blast before she was a teenager (some kids want to grow up to fast). Let me repeat that— a six-year-old pulled the trigger on a shotgun and managed to kill someone.
Katie has no memory of this because the blast shocked the shotgun into her precious little face and made a nice 12-inch bruise diagonally across it. When the cops catch up to them, do they look at the child’s face and ask themselves what happened? No. Do they test Ruth’s hands for gunshot residue? No. So, Ruth took the blame and went away to prison for her little sister’s crime. We can only assume she felt guilty for causing the situation in the first place.
So, when Steve calls her over to his workplace office on the weekend with a threat to kill his sister, Ruth sees that it’s not Katie and doesn’t bother to tell him this. She gets him to stop his gun when he finds out he has the stones not to pull the trigger, and they hear the police come pulling up. There is a genuine issue of the police shooting Ruth because of her history, but she manages to be handcuffed unscathed. Her parole office demands the cuffs be taken off since she has done nothing wrong, and that’s when she sees a twenty-something girl and catches her eye. It’s her sister Katie. She is finally reunited with her sister after all these years.
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