Geek Review: Widows

As any good man will tell you: do not mess with women when they are pissed.

And this movie, based on a 1983 TV series of the same name, explains why.

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The title can’t get any more literal than this – the story’s protagonists are a group of women whose criminal husbands died after a job went horribly wrong. When they get harassed by a mobster, these women decide to take things into their own hands by planning a heist. They solve problems and get rid of obstacles, showing enemies that they aren’t vulnerable and weak.

There are some heartbreaks along the way too. But there’s nothing these ladies can’t handle.

When it comes to female characters pulling off robberies, movies like Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and Gary Ross’s Ocean’s 8 come to mind. Since this is a film directed by Oscar-winning Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), you can expect a lot more than an entertaining popcorn flick.

There are many characters in the movie, and it is a wonder how the script (co-written by McQueen and novelist Gillian Flynn, who authored “Gone Girl”) manages to let each of them shine. The story interweaves several plot lines, together with their main and supporting characters into an engaging 129-minute film. Besides the titular widows, there are crime bosses, gangsters and politicians.

There is also a hairdresser who works doubly hard for her children by being a babysitter, a loyal chauffer safeguarding a secret, an abusive mother who can’t tell the difference between love and violence, and a real estate developer who uses a transactional sexual relationship to substitute for love.

The well-paced drama explores several issues: race, class, gender and politics. Can robbing a rich white guy influence the development of a South Chicago precinct? Do white people funding job training programmes for the black mean anything? Will there ever be a day when women can truly call the shots? The film asks these questions, but keeps things gripping with a heist drama that will have you guessing which character will be shot next.

Yup, there is plenty of bloodshed packed in here.

The first-rate ensemble cast is also what makes the film work. Viola Davis (Suicide Squad) is the mastermind of the widows, and her headstrong performance is complemented by occasional moments of tenderness. Her crew members are played by Michelle Rodriguez (Fast & Furious 8), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) and Cynthia Erivo (Bad Times at the El Royale). Each of these ladies has got a unique personality to boot, and brings something different to the table.

Other familiar faces in the cast include Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) as an impulsive and brutal thug, Colin Farrell (The Beguiled) as a sneaky politician, as well as a certain Mr Neeson who has inspired countless memes and GIFS for saying “I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.” The actor puts his iconic voice to good use, as Davis’ dead husband who appears in flashbacks.

This is an exceptional film that entertains while exploring relevant and poignant social themes – expect it to pick up nominations and wins during the awards season.



Thou shall not mess with women when they are angry. Especially if they are a ferocious bunch led by Viola Davis.

  • Story - 8.5/10
  • Direction - 9/10
  • Characterisation - 8.5/10
  • Geek Satisfaction - 8.5/10
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