Are The Unforgivable’s Ruth Slater and Katie Based on Real People?

‘The Unforgivable’ is a story about the shackles of the law system that continue to restrain ex-convicts from getting their life back on track even after serving their sentences. The thought-provoking drama film directed by Nora Fingscheidt highlights the struggles and judgment faced by people following their release from prison. It follows Ruth Slater (Sandra Bullock), a woman recently released from jail who seeks to reunite with her younger sister, Katie (Aisling Franciosi). The emotional narrative seems ripped right from a newspaper headline, and we are sure viewers must be curious to find out whether the characters of Ruth and Katie are inspired by real people. In that case, here’s everything we know! SPOILERS AHEAD!

Are Ruth Slater and Katie Based on Real People?

In ‘The Unforgivable,’ Ruth Slater raises her sister, Katie, after the death of their mother. Soon, their father dies by suicide, and the police arrive to evict them from their house. Ruth makes a stand to stop her sister from being taken away. Things get out of hand, and Ruth ends up causing the death of Sheriff Whelan. She is sentenced to prison while Katie is traumatized by the incident. She starts a new life and is adopted by the Malcolms. Katie only has faint visions of her time with Ruth and doesn’t remember her sister. The tragic story of the sisters’ separation and eventual reunion is deeply moving but, in the end, does not appear to be based on a true story.

The movie is an adaptation of the British miniseries ‘Unforgiven’ written by Sally Wainwright. The three-part series tells a fictional story and isn’t inspired by any actual events. In an interview, Wainwright shared that the germination of the idea for the series started after watching a series about the separation of a mother and her child who reunite later in life. From there, she cultivated the story of two sisters who are separated by circumstances and later find a way to reunite. The sister characters became Ruth and Katie. Therefore, it is safe to say that Ruth and Katie are not based on real people and are fictional characters.

Wainwright weaved her magic in crafting the sisters, and the two characters aren’t unlike real sisters. In fact, the bond between the sisters is the aspect of the story that drew director Nora Fingscheidt to create an American adaptation. The movie also speaks about the challenges faced by ex-convicts in reassimilating themselves into society after serving their sentence. Through the character of Ruth, the film makes some poignant social commentary about the circumstances such people face, the inefficiency of the law system in helping them, and the discrimination within the system. It also highlights the effects of a crime on the lives of loved ones through the lingering trauma experienced by Katie. The film is a complex character drama infused with thriller elements. Ultimately, the story is grounded in reality thanks to its realistic characters.

Read More: Where Was The Unforgivable Filmed?