Widows is more than just about widowed women and heists.
This post for Widows contains spoilers.
I’m not going to lie but I checked the Rotten Tomatoes score of Widows (2018, directed and co-written by Steve McQueen) before I decided to watch it in theatres. As the title of the film suggests, Widows is about three women—or rather four—who recently lost their husbands. The main plot of the film revolves around the criminal activities that shape the lives of these characters.
Veronica (Viola Davis) is devastated by the loss of her husband Harry (Liam Neeson); following his death she is threatened by crime boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), of whom her husband stole $2 million dollars from. At whatever costs, she has to get that money back to Jamal, and she decides to do this by carrying out a heist that was previously planned by her husband. She gets the other widows involved in the plan by suggesting that their lives are as much in danger as hers, and that they can each spilt the stolen money equally.
Widows is described to have multiple plot twists, but I think there are two main ones: Harry being alive; and the house that the widows have to rob belongs to Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell). I had already predicted the former to happen at the very beginning of the film, as such a plot twist seem obvious to a moviegoer like me, or maybe I just watch too many thrillers to anticipate stuff like that.
What I find commendable about Widows is that it isn’t just a feminist heist film. In this two-hour long film, director McQueen addresses some of the hot topics in contemporary America such as the easy accessibility of purchasing guns “a gun is a girl’s best friend,” and the police brutality cases against people of colour.
Apart from its cleverly crafted script (no surprise from co-writer Gillian Flynn), Widows features a large cast of actors, and all of them were magnificent in their respective roles. Daniel Kaluuya in particular was terrifyingly intimidating as a mob enforcer called Jatemme Manning (brother of Jamal). From playing a victim in Get Out, he soars as a ruthless gangster in Widows. He had this one scene in a bowling alley that just showed how despicable his character is; his character was so awful that I had hoped he would die by the end of the film—and he actually did.
Other characters like Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) were a standout to me. Alice reminded me of Jane the Virgin’s Petra (Yael Grobglas), and I think that’s mainly due to the Polish accent and the blonde hair. Additionally, having seen Cynthia Erivo in Bad Times at the El Royale, I was excited to see her here, but sadly her character had very limited development as the cast is just too big. I was also happy to see Carrie Coon appear, albeit only for a few scenes. Even Veronica’s white terrier dog named Olivia (that’s the doggy’s real name too) had a significantly longer screen time than Coon.
I was rather unsatisfied with the ending of Widows, as the third act of the film—when the heist was taking place—felt rushed. I also felt that there were too many subplots in the film that didn’t necessarily need to be there. The film and characters still work if Alice didn’t sleep with David (Lukas Haas)—the man she met on the dating app.
Overall, Widows is definitely worth checking out, but beware that there are some scenes of violence that might be too much for some to handle.