Directed by Nora Fingscheidt and starring Sandra Bullock in the lead, ‘The Unforgivable’ centers upon a former convict as she tries to rebuild her life after spending twenty years in prison. Convicted of a heinous crime that continues to follow her despite having served her time, Ruth struggles to be treated fairly while also searching for her long-lost sister.
The protagonist’s emotionally harrowing journey lasts decades, and the film intricately explores the small victories and crippling defeats she faces on her path to reintegration. If you’re looking for more heavy-hitting films like this, we’ve got some great suggestions in store for you. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘The Unforgivable’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
7. Lion (2016)
More a journey of discovery than reintegration, ‘Lion’ nonetheless touches some deep chords and explores achingly difficult emotional barriers. Separated from his family as a child, the protagonist, as a grown-up, attempts to track down the biological connections he lost. Much like ‘The Unforgivable,’ the film depicts a past tragedy that continues to have an overwhelming influence on the central character’s life. As you might have guessed, ‘Lion’ is inspired by true events 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 winding tale of a drifter as he attempts to reintegrate into society and repair bonds with his brother and young son. The tumultuous journey that Travis embarks on to reconnect with his family is reminiscent of Ruth’s equally dramatic tale of attempting 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 as he serves the final days of his prison sentence at a low-security prison farm. The criminal makes an unlikely connection with an injured wedge-tail eagle, and the two embark on an interesting parallel journey of (physical and emotional) healing. The themes of reintegration and healing resound loudly in this film, much like they do 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 student and an older woman and evolves into a story with truly remarkable depth. A decade after their encounter, the student runs into his former lover in the unlikeliest of situations — at a war-crime trial in which she must defend herself. The multiple layers of nuanced emotions are handled masterfully, making this film devastating and inspiring at the same time. If you enjoyed the slow reveal in the flashbacks of ‘The Unforgiven,’ then you will really enjoy watching the incredible story of ‘The Reader‘ come together.
3. Secrets and Lies (1996)
A story of finding one’s roots in the most intimate of ways, ‘Secrets and Lies’ follows a young black woman who reconnects with her biological mother after the death of her adoptive parents. The stark differences in how the daughter and her birth mother’s lives have progressed make it a heartbreaking watch, and the film holds a spectacular list of prestigious awards and nominations to prove it. The multi-layered storyline also builds a rich world for the emotional story, like seen in ‘The Unforgivable.’
2. Passing (2021)
‘Passing‘ delves into the complex racial dynamics of light-skinned dark people and explores it through a tale of two childhood friends who reconnect after years. Based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Nella Larsen, the film is an emotional roller coaster ride that sees the two protagonists go through tumultuous internal journeys to reconcile their childhood with their present lives. Those that enjoyed watching Ruth slowly piece her life back together will enjoy watching this intriguing film of two parallel character studies.
1. Changeling (2008)
Set in the 1920s, this remarkable film is based on real events and tells the story of a mother who is reunited with her missing son. However, she soon realizes that the boy is not, in fact, her son but is unable to get others to believe her. Soon deemed to be mentally unstable and unfit to be a mother, Christine Collins searches for her son for years. We won’t tell you how it all turns out, but if you thought the heart-wrenching journey of Ruth in search of her younger sister was powerful, Christine Collins’ story would shake you to your core.
Read More: Where Was The Unforgivable Filmed?