Widows (2018 film)

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Widows (2018 movie poster).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve McQueen
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onWidows
by Lynda La Plante
Music byHans Zimmer
CinematographySean Bobbitt
Edited byJoe Walker
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 8, 2018 (2018-09-08) (TIFF)
  • November 6, 2018 (2018-11-06) (United Kingdom)
  • November 16, 2018 (2018-11-16) (United States)
Running time
129 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Budget$42 million[1]
Box office$8 million[1]

Widows is a 2018 heist film directed by Steve McQueen from a screenplay by McQueen and Gillian Flynn, based upon the 1983 ITV series of the same name.[2] A British-American co-production, the film features an ensemble cast consisting of Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, Jacki Weaver, Carrie Coon, Robert Duvall, and Liam Neeson. The plot follows a group of women who attempt a heist in order to pay back a crime boss after their criminal husbands are killed on a botched job.

The film was announced in March 2015, with Davis joining the cast in September 2016. The rest of the cast was added in the next several months, and filming began in Chicago in May 2017.

Widows premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2018, was released in the United Kingdom on November 6, 2018 and in the United States on November 16, by 20th Century Fox. The film received praise from critics for its direction, screenplay, editing, score and the performances of the cast, particularly Davis, Debicki and Kaluuya.[3]


Harry Rawlings is a renowned thief. When he and his partners Carlos, Florek, and Jimmy, are killed during a botched robbery, his grieving wife Veronica is threatened by crime boss Jamal Manning - the man Harry and his partners robbed $2 million from. Manning needs this money to finance his electoral campaign for alderman of a South Side precinct, where he is running against Jack Mulligan, the son of the incumbent Tom Mulligan.

Veronica discovers Harry’s notebook, which contains a detailed plan of his next heist, and decides to carry out this plan to get Jamal’s money back. She recruits two of the other widows, Linda and Alice, to help carry out the robbery. The fourth widow, Amanda, does not show at the initial meeting; when Veronica talks to Amanda later and hears that she has a small baby, she opts not to mention the heist plan to her. Alice buys the van and guns they will need; Linda makes some progress towards finding the building on the blueprints, but ultimately Alice uses a real estate executive, David, with whom she is having a sexual relationship as an escort, to identify that they are of the Mulligan's house/headquarters.

When Veronica's chauffeur Bash is murdered by the Mannings, the group requires another driver for the heist, and Linda eventually recruits Belle, her children’s babysitter, on the hopes that her speed and smarts will be an asset for the job. Veronica visits the Mulligan house both to ask Jack to help protect her from Manning (a request he rebuffs) and to case the premises in advance of the heist while Belle investigates the external security. Later, the group set out to rob the Mulligan house while Jack is at a debate but are interrupted by Tom, who shoots and wounds Alice; they return fire, killing him. After successfully stealing the money, the widows are double-crossed by Jamal, who sends his brother Jatemme to take the money from them. The group chases him down, killing Jatemme when they run him off the road, and retrieve the money. The group splits up and goes their separate ways, with Veronica returning to the hideout.

At the hideout, Harry, who faked his death and set up his partners, arrives to take the money from Veronica so that he can build a new life with Amanda, whose child is his. After being attacked by Harry, Veronica kills him and leaves with the money.

Jack wins the election on a wave of public sympathy following his father's death. Linda buys a boutique, Alice sets up her own business, and Belle moves away with her daughter to a new city after giving her boss enough money to pay off a debt to Jack. Veronica donates much of her share to endow a library project in her deceased son's memory. Veronica and Alice encounter each other in a diner, where they initially ignore each other, but Veronica approaches Alice outside, smiling.


  • Viola Davis as Veronica Rawlings, a Chicago teacher's union delegate and Harry's wife.
  • Michelle Rodriguez as Linda Perelli, a clothing store owner
  • Elizabeth Debicki as Alice Gunner
  • Cynthia Erivo as Belle, a babysitter and beautician who looks after Linda's children that works with Veronica's group.
  • Colin Farrell as Jack Mulligan, a politician who finds himself mixed up in the widows' plans.
  • Brian Tyree Henry as Jamal Manning, a crime boss and politician to whom the widows are indebted.
  • Daniel Kaluuya as Jatemme Manning, Jamal's brother and mob enforcer.
  • Jacki Weaver as Agnieska, Alice's abusive mother.
  • Carrie Coon as Amanda Nunn, a widow who isn't involved in the robbery due to being too busy with her newborn baby.
  • Robert Duvall as Tom Mulligan, Jack's father and a power broker at odds with his son.
  • Liam Neeson as Harry Rawlings, Veronica's husband and a renowned bank robber with connections to politicians.
  • Garret Dillahunt as Bash O'Reilly, the Rawlings family chauffeur.
  • Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Carlos Perelli, Linda's husband who is a gambler and one of Harry's partners.
  • Jon Bernthal as Florek Gunner, Alice's abusive husband and one of Harry's partners.
  • Coburn Goss as Jimmy Nunn, Amanda's husband and one of Harry's partners.
  • Molly Kunz as Siobhan, Jack's young campaign manager.
  • Michael Harney as Sgt. Fuller, a corrupt cop involved in a conspiracy.
  • Lukas Haas as David, a real estate worker who Alice sells herself to following Florek's death.
  • Matt Walsh as Ken, the CEO of a security company
  • Adepero Oduye as Breechelle
  • Ann Mitchell as Amanda's mother
  • Kevin J. O'Connor as Bobby Welsh


On March 27, 2015, the project was announced to be in development with a script written by Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen, with McQueen attached to direct.[4] In September 2016, Viola Davis joined the cast. Additionally, it was reported that Jennifer Lawrence was approached for a role, but, due to scheduling conflicts, she had to decline.[5] In November 2016, Cynthia Erivo joined the cast.[6] In January 2017, André Holland entered in negotiations to join the cast.[7] In February 2017, Elizabeth Debicki (cast in the role Lawrence declined),[8][9] Michelle Rodriguez,[10] and Daniel Kaluuya joined the cast.[11] In March 2017, Liam Neeson joined the cast of the film.[12] In April 2017, Colin Farrell joined the cast of the film.[13] That same month, Robert Duvall joined the cast of the film.[14] In May 2017, Garret Dillahunt, Jacki Weaver, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Lukas Haas and Brian Tyree Henry joined the cast of the film.[15][16][17][18][19] In June 2017, Carrie Coon was cast in the film.[20] In August 2017, Michael Harney and Jon Bernthal joined the cast of the film.[21][22]

Principal photography began on May 8, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.[23][24]


The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2018.[25][26] It was scheduled to be released on November 16, 2018. [27]


Box office[edit]

As of November 17, 2018, Widows has grossed $4.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $3.8 million in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $8 million, against a production budget of $42 million.[1]

In the United States and Canada, Widows was released alongside Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Instant Family, and is projected to gross $12–18 million from 3,000 theaters in its opening weekend.[28] It made $4.2 million on its first day, including $600,000 from Thursday night previews.[29]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 210 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Widows rounds up a stellar ensemble for a heist thriller that mixes popcorn entertainment with a message – and marks another artistic leap for director Steve McQueen."[30] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 86 out of 100, based on 49 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[31] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars; social media monitor RelishMix noted online responses to the film were "mixed".[29]

Owen Gleiberman of Variety praised McQueen's direction and Davis' performance, "The strongest aspect of Widows is the way the movie gets us — and keeps us — rooting for its desperate-living heroines. They're past the point of just wanting to have fun (the subtext of almost every heist movie); they're less concerned with comeuppance than sheer survival."[32] Eric Kohn of IndieWire gave the film a "A-", saying: "Ultimately, Widows works as well as it does due to the way McQueen juggles substance with entertainment value to such eager subversive ends. The movie engages with topics as complex as sexism, police brutality, and interracial marriage, but it still delivers on the car chases and gunplay. No superhero movie digs this deep."[33]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Phillips, Michael (November 8, 2018). "Viola Davis, Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen enter Chicago underworld with 'Widows'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-11-11.


  1. ^ a b c "Widows (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  2. ^ "Gillian Flynn Joins Steve McQueen To Script New Regency Heist Thriller". Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  3. ^ "Widows review round-up: Steve McQueen's heist film is a 'ferociously entertaining crowd-pleaser'". Firstpost. September 11, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (March 27, 2015). "Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen to Write Heist Thriller for New Regency". Variety. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Chitwood, Adam (September 17, 2016). "Viola Davis Teaming with '12 Years a Slave' Filmmaker Steve McQueen for Thriller 'Widows'". Collider. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 10, 2016). "'The Color Purple' Actress Cynthia Erivo Joins Viola Davis in Steve McQueen's 'Widows'". Variety. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  7. ^ Kroll, Justin (January 13, 2017). "'Moonlight' Star Andre Holland Joins Viola Davis in Steve McQueen's 'Widows' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  8. ^ Kroll, Justin (February 8, 2017). "Elizabeth Debicki to Co-Star With Viola Davis in Steve McQueen's 'Widows' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  9. ^ Making of 'Widows': How Steve McQueen Went Mainstream for a $40M Heist Movie
  10. ^ Lodderhose, Diana (February 16, 2017). "Michelle Rodriguez Joins Steve McQueen's Heist Pic 'Widows'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Hipes, Patrick (February 24, 2017). "'Get Out' Star Daniel Kaluuya To Topline Steve McQueen's 'Widows'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 3, 2017). "Liam Neeson in Talks to Play Viola Davis' Husband in Steve McQueen's 'Widows' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  13. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 4, 2017). "Colin Farrell Eyes Steve McQueen's 'Widows' With Viola Davis (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  14. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 13, 2017). "Robert Duvall Boards Steve McQueen-Directed Thriller 'Widows'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 13, 2017.
  15. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 3, 2017). "'Mindy Project's Garret Dillahunt Joins 'Widows'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  16. ^ Galuppo, Mia (May 5, 2017). "Jacki Weaver Joining Viola Davis in Steve McQueen's 'Widows' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  17. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 8, 2017). "Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Cast In 'Widows'; Desmin Borges Joins Netflix Film 'Private Life'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  18. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (May 23, 2017). "Lukas Haas Cast In Steve McQueen's 'Widows'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  19. ^ Atlanta’s Brian Tyree Henry Joins Cast Of Steve McQueen’s Widows
  20. ^ "Carrie Coon Joins Steve McQueen's Heist Thriller 'Widows' (Exclusive)".
  21. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (August 17, 2017). "Brendan Coyle Joins 'Mary Queen Of Scots'; Michael Harney Cast In 'Widows". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  22. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (August 30, 2017). "Jon Bernthal Wraps Steve McQueen's 'Widows', Eyes Damien Chazelle's 'First Man'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  23. ^ "Widows". Directors Guild of America. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  24. ^ "Filming of Steve McQueen's 'Widows' to close South Side streets". Chicago Sun Times.
  25. ^ Vlessing, Etan (July 24, 2018). "Toronto: Timothee Chalamet Starrer 'Beautiful Boy,' Dan Fogelman's 'Life Itself' Among Festival Lineup". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  26. ^ "Widows". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  27. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (April 22, 2017). "'Deadpool 2', 'New Mutants' & 'Dark Phoenix' Find 2018 Dates Among Fox's Slew Of Release Changes & Additions". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  28. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (November 13, 2018). "Box Office: 'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald' Sequel Heads for $250 Million Global Launch". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  29. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 16, 2018). "'Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald' Steals $9.1M+ In Thursday Night Previews – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
  30. ^ "Widows (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  31. ^ "Widows reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 15, 2018.
  32. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (September 9, 2018). "Toronto Film Review: 'Widows'". Variety Magazine. Penske Media. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  33. ^ Kohn, Eric (September 9, 2018). "'Widows' Review: Steve McQueen's Riveting Heist Movie Is 'Ocean's Eight' With a Dragon Tattoo — TIFF". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 9, 2018.

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