Rarely does a film leave me so baffled, I legitimately wonder who wrote it after watching it. Lo and behold, I discover that Widows is a film co-written and directed by Steve McQueen of 12 Years a Slave fame who earlier this week said and I quote:
“I think that any film that’s not feminist is a bad picture. I assume everyone is a feminist. That’s where I’m coming from. For me, it has to be a feminist movie to be a good movie.”
Widows is a film set in the great city of Chicago, and by great, I mean you have two completely corrupt criminals running for public office (just like in real life). After a crew of armed robbers are lit up by police officers like a mansion in December, political candidate and literal crime boss Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry) harasses the widow of one of the robbers and tells her that she has one month to repay the two million dollars that her dead husband stole from him. With no options and time running out, Veronica Rawlins (Viola Davis) brings together the other widows to pull off a five million dollar job that their husbands couldn’t. Failure is not an option for these women as their lives hang in the balance in a sea of corrupt men.
Where to begin? For those wondering if this was a feminist movie…yes. It is so 3rd wave, they might as well call it a tsunami. Widows is loaded with progressive dogma and not so subtle messages about gender, class, race, politics, and all the other stuff that gets you 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. While the film sets up a solid premise about crime and corruption, you are constantly taken out by a wave of progressive undertones. Since this is a feminist movie, literally every man in the film is a complete and utter scumbag. You have racists, sexists, homophobes, wife beaters, incestuous cheaters, murders, creeps, politicians; even ISIS recruits aren’t as evil as the men here. I’m not joking by saying that there is only ONE redeemable man in the film…and they kill him.
Make no mistake the misandry is real, especially when compared to how the women are portrayed and I’ll get to that in a moment. There are some laughable propaganda moments like police officers gunning down a black man in his car for LITERALLY no reason, recurring lectures about institutional racism saying no matter how hard you work, it doesn’t matter because the system, there is even a scene dedicated to the debunked gun show loophole. I know McQueen isn’t from America so he probably wasn’t smarten up to the fact that while one of his characters states how easy it is to get a gun in this country, the city he set this film in has some of the toughest gun laws in the country (BTW all the talk of political corruption in Chicago and the Democrats aren’t mentioned ONCE).
Let’s set aside ALL of the complaints about pandering and propaganda and just focus on the plot for a second. The story is pretty well told and is engaging up until the conclusion. Keep in mind, the entire plot of this film is that the women are being threatened to pay back 2 million so they have to do a heist to save their lives. Well, when the film hits its conclusion, the issue is never resolved because SPOILER ALERT: the women just take the money, kill one of the guys, and the film ends with happy endings.
They never paid back the guy they owed which was the entire point of the film, they killed one of his guys, none of the women even skip town when it’s all over, and BTW one of them is shot by a guy they killed during the robbery (I guess ballistics evidence and the gun show loophole couldn’t both survive in this universe). If you really reflect on the plot, you realize that half the women weren’t even necessary to the story. They just needed a group of women (most of which are built like men) to pull off a man’s plan that a group of teenagers could have pulled off in fewer Emergency Room trips.
Widows is a ham-fisted drama disguised as a heist film that is carried by Viola Davis and Daniel Kaluuya. Skip it, there are better movies out next week and I haven’t even seen them yet.