The Forgiven: release date, reviews, trailer and everything we know about the Jessica Chastain movie

Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain in The Forgiven
(Image credit: Roadside Attractions)

It’s not going to be all superheroes and action blockbusters at the movies this summer. There are going to be more adult-centric dramas coming to the big screen, including The Forgiven. This new drama starring Jessica Chastain, Ralph Fiennes and more, could be just the kind of counter-programming you’re looking for if Thor or Minions aren’t your cup of tea.

Here is everything you need to know about The Forgiven.

When is The Forgiven release date?

The Forgiven is releasing in the US on July 1, followed by a UK release on September 2. At both times, the movie is going to play exclusively in movie theaters.

According to IMDb, the July 1 date for The Forgiven in the US is a limited release for the movie, though it is not clear how many cities and theaters are going to be covered in that "limited" release. After that it’ll likely roll out to additional markets over the course of a few weeks. For info on when and where The Forgiven is playing, you can always check resources like Fandango closer to the release date.

The Forgiven reviews — what the critics are saying

The Forgiven previously had its world premiere at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, where critics got to give their first reactions to it. But, as the movie is arriving in more theaters, What to Watch is weighing in as well.

Our review for The Forgiven points out solid performances, particularly from Ralph Fiennes, and the necessary lavish look for this morality tale, but ultimately feels like writer/director John Michael McDonagh misses the mark, especially compared to his previous work.

However, others view the movie differently. Rotten Tomatoes currently (as of June 30) scores The Forgiven at a 70% "Fresh." Another review aggregator, Metacritic, currently has the movie at a score of 65, which puts it in the "good" tier for the site.

Here’s some of what the critics had to say about The Forgiven:

John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter: "It’s a very grown-up film but never a bore, a morally alert drama that leaves the scolding to us."

Steve Pond, The Wrap: "Dark and unsettling, The Forgiven doesn’t ask us to like its characters, but it forces us to watch as privilege begins to shatter and people for whom everything feels inconsequential have to deal with consequences."

Benjamin Lee, The Guardian: "We’re left with pieces, interesting on their own and sometimes together, but not quite enough to complete the puzzle."

What is The Forgiven plot?

Here is the official synopsis for The Forgiven:

"Speeding through the Moroccan desert to attend an old friend’s lavish weekend party, wealthy Londoners David and Jo Henninger are involved in a tragic accident with a local teenage boy. Arriving late at the grand villa with the debauched party raging, the couple attempts to cover up the incident with the collusion of the local police. But when the boy’s father arrives seeking justice, the stage is set for a tension-filled culture clash in which David and Jo must come to terms with their fateful act and its shattering consequences."

The movie is based on the Lawrence Osborne novel of the same name. 

What is The Forgiven rated?

The Forgiven is rated R in the US for "language throughout, drug use, some sexual content and brief violence." A UK rating is pending.

What is The Forgiven runtime?

The Forgiven is one hour and 57 minutes long.

Who is in The Forgiven cast?

The Forgiven has a number of big names set to star in it, but it is headlined by Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain as David and Jo Henninger.

The Forgiven is the first movie to come out starring Chastain since she won Best Actress at the 2022 Oscars for her performance in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. It is also one of many movies that Chastain is starring in this year, including the previously released The 355 and the upcoming Armageddon Time.

Ralph Fiennes is coming off a busy 2021 of his own on the big screen, as the actor starred in three movies, including The Dig, No Time to Die and The King’s Man. Fiennes is best known for his roles in movies like Schindler’s List, The Constant Gardener, The Grand Budapest Hotel and as Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise.

Other members of the cast include Matt Smith (Morbius, The Crown), Ismael Kanater (24), Caleb Landry Jones (Finch, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Abbey Lee (Mad Max: Fury Road), Mourad Zaoui (The Blacklist), Marie-Josée Croze (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), Alex Jennings (This Is Going to Hurt, Operation Mincemeat), Saïd Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman) and Christopher Abbott (Possessor, The World to Come).

The Forgiven trailer

The trailer for The Forgiven looks to deliver a tense morality play with plenty for the highly talented cast to toy with. Give the trailer a watch directly below.

Some clips of The Forgiven have also been released to give you a sense of what's in store:

Who is The Forgiven director?

John Michael McDonagh wrote and directed The Forgiven. McDonagh has found his niche in the indie scene with a number of well reviewed titles to date, including The Guard, Calvary and War on Everyone. Fun fact, he is the older brother of fellow filmmaker Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). 

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.