Talking Widows Movie: "It’s a hell of a love story,” says Viola Davis

Talking Widows Movie: "It’s a hell of a love story,” says Viola Davis

By Samantha Ofole-Prince/Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

At first glance, a heist movie may seem an odd choice for Steve McQueen given his previously helmed flicks, which include the political drama “Hunger” and the award-winning slave flick “12 Years a Slave.” There’s never been reason to think the British director would be interested in a Stateside-based heist flick, but the set-up certainly offers an explanation as the story offers a twist on the typical heist film in that each character that intersects comes from different ethnic, financial and social background.

Set in contemporary Chicago amidst a time of political and societal turmoil, Academy-Award winning actress Viola Davis leads the powerhouse cast as Veronica Rawlins, a widow who is forced to pick up the pieces of her life after her husband, Harry (Liam Neeson), is killed in a failed robbery.  With mounting debts and an unscrupulous mob seeking to collect, she decides to finish the task he was supposed to commit with the other widows of Harry’s criminal cohorts.

It’s a brilliant thriller that tackles love, politics, religion, class, race and criminality. The widows who have nothing to lose include Michelle Rodriguez as Linda, who is struggling to keep her family and dress shop afloat after her husband’s death and Elizabeth Debicki, who plays Alice the Polish immigrant, the most sheltered of the widows and Cynthia Erivo who rounds off the cast as the street savvy Belle, an ally who steps in to help the women in their quest.

A female driven drama with a middle age black female lead, it’s the kind of twisty, cerebral thriller rarely seen onscreen and the brilliance of the film isn’t just in its clever plotting, but in the colorful characters and their interactions.

Despite being a caper drama, the film is not marred in movie effects and what McQueen offers is a smart high-concept escapism with a love story between Davis and Neeson at the center of it.

“It’s a huge departure for me,” shares Davis. “First, there’s a nice love scene in there and it’s kind of action-packed and I liked the fact that there’s a love story at the center of it. I like me in a love story, because, I have played a lot of lawyers and detectives and CIA directors, people like that," says the actress who has a few steamy scenes with Neeson. "I felt like he was familiar to me,” she reflects. “It was nice and I’m thinking to myself, ‘I’m in bed’, and the racial implications of it.  And, I mention this and I know people can roll their eyes, but something needs to be said about it, really.  Because at what point in the history of cinema, have you seen someone who looks like me and someone who looks like Liam Neeson in bed together, kissing, romantic, in love, married?”

Other characters in this engaging drama include Colin Farrell who plays a politician who figures into the widows’ master plan. Brian Tyree Henry plays his political opponent in Chicago’s improvised 18th Ward and a man to whom, Veronica discovers, Harry owes money and Daniel Kaluuya wraps up the main cast as his sadistically evil brother Jatemme who is also responsible for muscling in on Veronica to collect the money Harry owes Jamal.

Mournful and angry but ever so exhilarating, “Widows” treats the women’s actions with a mixture of moral weight and satisfying catharsis. We’re convinced their characters have no other recourse but to perform a heist especially after Jatemme threatens Veronica

Strong performances, believable characters and an interesting and well-paced premise keeps you compelled throughout and although it has real tension it finds places to interject a little humor.

“Widows” is an enjoyable and sophisticated heist movie which is so expertly done that it’s certainly McQueen’s best film to date.

“Widows” releases in theaters November 16. Check out the trailer below:

Daniel Kaluuya and Brian Tyree Henry plays brothers in Widows
Liam Neeson and Viola Davis in Twentieth Century Fox’s WIDOWS
Steve McQueen at the Chicago Film Festival. Photo Credit Barry Brecheisen
Viola Davis and Cynthia Erivo
Viola Davis stars in Twentieth Century Fox’s WIDOWS
Widows actors Viola Davis, Cynthia Erivo, and Michelle Rodriguez- Photo Credit Barry Brecheisen