Sandra Bullock, Rob Morgan and Viola Davis are known for being part of film and television projects that cause audiences to think, and their latest film The Unforgivable is no different.
The Netflix film stars Bullock as Ruth Slater, a recently released convict who served 20 years in prison for the murder of a local cop. In the process, she loses the right to contact her only surviving family member, her younger sister Katie.
Rob Morgan says he was shocked by the storyline
Morgan stars as Ruth’s strict parole officer, Vincent Cross.
For Morgan, he was immediately intrigued by the script. There’s a scene in the film where Davis’ character Liz Ingram, the wife of the lawyer who takes on Ruth’s case, lets her white husband know that if Ruth were one of their Black sons, she wouldn’t be given the same second chance. The moment hit home for Morgan.
“I found it very interesting that they were even going to do a movie about a white woman that’s done 20 years in prison,” he said to Shadow and Act. “Upon my research, I found that from 2000-2019, the rate of white women being incarcerated in state and federal prisons has increased by 40%…but the part that stood out to me is the fact that if you are a person that doesn’t have resources or in poverty, oftentimes, you don’t get justice. So I felt that this was a good way to present this story, this slice of blue-collar life, which is often underrepresented.”
Sandra Bullock pulls from her own experiences to make viewers root for Ruth
Ruth struggles to maintain a life outside of prison wires. Despite working two jobs, and following the rules set forth by her parole officer, she can’t escape the way she’s viewed.
In her search for the sister she was separated from since going into prison, she runs into a skilled lawyer (John Ingram, played by Vincent D’Onofrio) eager to help. But the sister’s adoptive family and even the lawyer’s wife are not convinced she deserves a second chance. On top of that, Ruth has to deal with the family of the victim seeking vengeance as she watches her back at every turn.
But as the film progresses, viewers are stunned to learn that Ruth is not the criminal she’s been convicted of. She makes no excuses and presses forward regardless. Bullock says that uncovering the true story of Ruth, coupled with her own personal experience of adopting her two children (both of whom are Black), is hopefully eye-opening for viewers to not judge a book by its cover.
“Society doesn’t see people born into poverty the same way they see people who come from affluence,” Bullock told us. “Why is that value less when the backbone of our entire country and world is on the backs of those who lift us up? It makes no sense how money becomes the thing that allows you to be seen, allows you justice.”
Bullock says in speaking to women who had been incarcerated, the theme is the same: “From birth, they had a completely different unjust trajectory than someone like myself,” she stated.
Check out the full Shadow and Act interview below with Bullock, Morgan and director Nora Fingscheidt and D’Onofrio.
The Unforgivable hit select theaters on Nov. 24 and will be available for streaming on Netflix on Dec. 10.