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Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities, take fate into their own hands, and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

Director:

Steve McQueen

Writers:

Gillian Flynn (screenplay by), Steve McQueen (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
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How 'Widows' Updates a Classic British TV Series

Widows director Steve McQueen and screenwriter Gillian Flynn reveal how Lynda La Plante's 1983 mini-series "Widows" is still relevant today.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Viola Davis ... Veronica
Liam Neeson ... Harry Rawlings
Jon Bernthal ... Florek
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo ... Carlos
Coburn Goss ... Jimmy Nunn
Michelle Rodriguez ... Linda
Alejandro Verdin ... Xavy
Bailey Rhyse Walters ... Gracie (as Bailey Walters)
Elizabeth Debicki ... Alice
Carrie Coon ... Amanda
Robert Duvall ... Tom Mulligan
Colin Farrell ... Jack Mulligan
Molly Kunz ... Siobhan
James Vincent Meredith ... John / Mulligan Man
Brian Tyree Henry ... Jamal Manning
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Storyline

"Widows" is the story of four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms. Written by Twentieth Century Fox

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Left with nothing. Capable of anything.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language throughout, and some sexual content/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

16 November 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Widows See more »

Filming Locations:

Chicago, Illinois, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The original the 1983 British TV series Widows (1983) was set in London, England. Director Steve McQueen moved the setting to Chicago, United States. See more »

Goofs

When the 'husbands' gang are surrounded and the van explodes it neatly separates into two halves and was clearly cut in two by the production crew. Real explosions are not so neat. See more »

Quotes

Jack Mulligan: What I've learned from men like my father and your husband is that you reap what you sow.
Veronica: Let's hope so.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Big Unknown
Performed by Sade
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User Reviews

 
Death becomes her
10 November 2018 | by bob-the-movie-manSee all my reviews

If you are considering "inheritence planning" there are probably a number of things you might be toying with: what happens to your house; how to best transfer your investments; who gets the dog; etc. But probably "a grudge" is not on the list. But that's the problem faced by teacher's union rep Veronica (Viola Davis). As you might presume from the film's title Veronica, together with fellow widows Linda (Michelle Rodriquez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki), Amanda (Carrie Coon), are left in a tight spot when a gang's robbery of a local black hoodlum's stack of cash goes badly wrong. The leader of the gang, and Veronica's husband, is Harry Rawlings (Liam Neeson), and his certain set of skills are not enough to save him.

The victim of the robbery, Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), is running for local office in the upcoming elections against Jack Mulligan (Colin Farrell), trying to take over the role as part of a long dynasty from his grouchy father Tom (Robert Duvall). Where Jamal might be better with words, Jamal's brother Jatemme (Daniel Kaluuya, "Get Out") has a more physical approach to resolving issues.

What Harry has left behind for Veronica is a notebook containing the details of their next job, and Veronica gathers the female group together to carry out the raid to help save them from a "bullet in the head".

I really enjoyed this film. It's the ying to the yang of the disappointing "Ocean's 8" from earlier in the year. Yes, it's YET another film that focuses on female empowerment and with a strong black presence within the cast. But what for me made it stand out above the crowd was the quality of the writing and the assuredness of the directing.

Although based on the ancient UK TV series by Lynda La Plante, the script is written by "Gone Girl" screenwriter Gillian Flynn, and is excellent. It really doesn't EXPLAIN what is going on, but shows you a series of interconnected scenes and lets you mentally fill in the blanks. While you don't need to be a rocket scientist to understand the overall story arc, I must admit that even now I'm not 100% sure of some of the nuances of the story. Harry, for example, seems to be a hardened career criminal, and yet he seems to be revered by the political leaders on both sides, even though he seemed to have loyalty to noone. The script cleverly uses flashbacks and has enough twists and turns to keep you on your mental toes.

The characters also worked well for me, with each having a back story and motivations that were distinctly different from each other. Alice (helped by Debecki's standout performance) is particularly intriguing coming out of an 'interesting' relationship. Is she just following the path of her unpleasant mother (Jacki Weaver)? Some of the actions might suggest so.

As for the direction, Steve McQueen (he of "12 Years a Slave"), delivers some scenes that could justly be described as "bold". A highpoint for me was a short drive by Jack Mulligan and his PA Siobhan (an excellently underplayed Molly Kunz) from a housing project, in a neighbourhood you might worry about walking through at night, to the Mulligan mansion in a leafy and pleasant street. McQueen mounts the camera on the bonnet (hood) of the car, but you can't see the interior other than occasional glimpses of the chauffeur. All you can hear is Mulligan's rant to his Siobhan. I thought this worked just brilliantly well. The heist itself well done and suitably tense with an outcome that continues to surprise.

If there's a criticism then the ending rather fizzles out, leaving a few loose ends flapping in the breeze.

As for the performances, it's only been a couple of weeks since my review of the excellent "Bad Times at the El Royale" and I named as my second film of the year for my (private) "Ensemble Cast" award. And here hot on its tail is the third. There are such strong performances across the cast that it's difficult to pull out specifics: as you start looking at the list you pull out more and more and more names...

  • As referenced above, I loved Elizabeth Debecki's performance. Both vulnerable and strong all in one package.
  • Colin Farrell, for me, gives his best performance in years as the son caught within the shadow of his overpowering father. A confrontational scene between Farrell and Robert Duvall is particularly powerful.
  • Daniel Kaluuya is truly threatening (possibly slightly OTT) as the psycho fixer.
  • For the second time in a month Cynthia Erivo stands out as a major acting force, as the hairstylist cum gang member Belle.
  • Jon Michael Hill, excellent as a fire-breathing reverend with flexible political views.


It would not surprise me to see Best Supporting Actor nods for any combinations of Debecki, Farrell, Kaluuya and Erivo for this.

I must admit that I'm not the greatest fan of Viola Davis: I find her performances quite mannered. But there's no doubting here the depth of her passion and with this lead performance she carries this film.

Final Thoughts: I loved this as an intelligent action movie that's a cut above the rest. Which is a surprise, since from the trailer I thought it looked good but not THAT good! It comes with my recommendation for an exciting and gripping two hours at the cinema.

(For the full graphical review, please check out One Mann's Movies on Facebook. Thanks).


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