Widows is the second female-led heist movie I have had the pleasure to watch this year. However, it paints a very different picture than Ocean’s 8.
In Ocean’s 8 there is the sense of support of characters out of pure charisma. The Ocean’s franchise along with other heist movies such as The Italian Job and the Now You See Me movies have the support of the audiences through the way they plan and execute their plans. Heist movies such as these are fun, have cool cars, rarely need excessive violence and the characters are usually looking for revenge, notoriety, or just want that cash.
Widows on the other hand is a realistic look at the people who commit elaborate robberies and what happens to them. It doesn’t cut the violence, the desperation, or the grief that is experienced by the main characters.
I honestly didn’t plan to watch this movie. I just got curious as I was scrolling through the movies that were showing near me on my phone when I noticed Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez on the poster.
The first thing I think about when I see Michelle Rodriguez is Resident Evil (the first film I watched with her in it) and then of course, I think about the Fast & Furious series. In my mind I always see her as a jock in my mind and I think many of us would love to be her. Her characters are often strong women who can definitely knock you out without a second thought. I always think about action and explosions when I think about her so I found it interesting that she was doing this project.
I have worked in theatre. I’ve been behind the scenes and on stage and something has always troubled me has been the lack of variety of roles that are set for women of color. I know it’s not something many people want to think about but most of the time but when a role has no indication on their race or ethnicity, they are usually automatically assumed to be white. Even if some roles are written with non-white players in mind there are many times where even those roles are not played by people of color. There has been some progress to push for diversity in media but it is no secret that minorities have had a hard time finding roles that aren’t stereotypes or just supporting characters. This is one of the reasons why I think this movie is important.
Steve McQueen, the director, brought the lives of these women to the screen whose lives were on a precipice. Their partners died when they tried to escape a robbery and they were left with the aftermath and the heavy weight of 2 million dollars which they had to return.
What I really admired about this movie is that it didn’t hold back where I expected it to. We experienced each funeral and the different ways that the cultures treated the women left behind. I flinched many times both inwardly and physically when I watched these women face abuse from their families and those shaking them down. Even with the addition of Belle, played by Cynthia Erivo, a single mother who becomes part of the Widow’s group we see a close up on other women like her. Women who come home only to sleep a few hours and eat. Women who literally run to get away from catcallers in their neighborhoods who yell and threaten them. Women who babysit other’s children so that they can support their own little ones knowing that they see the children of other families more than their own.
Viola Davis’ performance as Veronica was striking and impactful. She suffered through grief, picked herself up and tried to be the person everyone relied on while she herself was suffering. Viola Davis is such a great actress and she really set the tone for this movie.
Last but not least we have Elizabeth Debicki. I believe that it is Elizabeth Debicki’s character Alice that really stole the show. I think that this is because many people from the beginning had the urge to protect her character because of the physical abuse that she faced from so many people. However, Alice really grew throughout the film. She became more and more independent as the time elapsed and [spoiler alert] she was left in a good spot when the movie ended.
Even though the ending was bittersweet I was so happy for all the women who were part of the heist. They did what they had to do to get by and thankfully they had their happy endings and I hope we have more movies like this.
Daniel Kaluuya was absolutely amazing in this movie. I never really pictured him as an antagonist until I watched Widows and let me tell you he does a really really good job at being bad.