Is Ruth Slater real? A fictional character who endures real-life experiences

Once again, Sandra Bullock demonstrated her range as an actor by starring in the emotional film The Unforgivable. Bullock stars as Ruth Slater, a woman sentenced to twenty years in prison for murdering the sheriff. After serving her time, Slater endeavors to reintegrate into a society that refuses to forget her past transgressions. 

Ruth hopes to establish a relationship with her younger sister, Katie, who was a young child when Ruth went to prison. Unfortunately, Katie’s adoptive parents oppose attempts by Ruth to meet Katie. To make matters worse, Katie has little memory of her sister. 

Ruth Slater is a fictional character originally created by Sally Wainwright for the British miniseries Unforgiven. Sally said that she came up with the character and the series after watching a production about a separated mother and child reuniting later in life. 

Nora Fingscheidt took Sally’s story and adapted it into the film Unforgiven

Slater is not a real character, but her experiences mimic what many convicts in the real world go through. Sandra Bullock told Extra that she interviewed real-life convicts to portray Slater better:

“One of my tattoos was in honor of one of the women that I got to interview that helped me with insight to my daughter. She, too, went through the foster care system and there was something that was similar and she says, ‘Oh, my God, that happened to me. That’s who I was.”

Bullock added that the experience made her a better parent. “I got home and I go, ‘How is it that I went there to get her story and left there being a better parent because of the gift that she gave me?’” Sandra said. 

In the film, we see Slater struggle to rejoin society, which many ex-convicts go through. However, Slater has a better time of it due to white privilege. 

Liz Ingram (played by Viola Davis) notes that her black sons wouldn’t have made it through 20 years in prison. Davis told People that the film contributes to the conversation about racial injustice that started in 2020. She said:

“Here’s the thing, this job came during the pandemic, during [protests over the killings of] George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, all of that had exploded. All of a sudden these conversation started to be had which weren’t taking place before.”