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Widows Review

29 Oct

It really gives me no joy to say that outside of the performances and directing, this film is a pretty significant letdown. It’s especially a shame considering this was my most anticipated of the year.

I appreciate the film’s intent when it comes to portraying a sprawling community and the racial and class politics that abound, but this is a two hour story and not a David Simon miniseries. McQueen and Flynn struggle to write a compelling story for any character amid the backdrop of their view on the city, and the development of the heist itself is hastily conceived, sidelined, and rushed at various points throughout. This shouldn’t be that big of a problem considering the film doesn’t purport to be a “heist film” in the conventional sense, but the motivations of the characters involved in the heist are very poorly written. Rodriguez doesn’t get much to do, Debicki’s storyline is trite and dull, and though Davis gets the most material to work with, it’s not good or substantial material. It’s just so evident how hard the script is trying to make you invested in her backstory with all its mini flashbacks, and the only reason the emotional climax has any semblance of payoff is because Davis tries her hardest to sell you on it.

None of the above storylines are stitched together smoothly whatsoever, so when the film does deliver a great scene—e.g. the heist—there’s no emotional backbone to add to the craft of the scene itself. Some of these images are absolutely empowering on their own, but these women don’t get to be that complex of characters because they’re barely characters to begin with. In my opinion, step one of selling a group dynamic is making sure the individuals are distinct and interesting; that isn’t the case here. On top of that, by the time the other main aspect of the film—the Farrell political storyline—aligns its focus with that of the widows, there’s not enough time to develop those connections in depth. It all just feels like television pacing translated to film until the last act, where Flynn and McQueen realize that they need to end the story. Then it’s too late, and everyone and everything gets shortchanged. Speaking of shortchanged: Carrie Coon is one of the greatest actors alive, don’t waste her.

There are definitely things I like. I quite like the heist scene, the final shot, and McQueen’s overall directing style. And again, the performances are all great, including that of the very menacing Daniel Kaluuya. However, his character is also pretty emblematic of the problems that hurt the film. He has some great scenes, but there seems to be very little rhyme or reason to when, how, and why those scenes take place. The storyline is so lacking in momentum and development, and then it just ends. Sounds like the film overall, one that has mountains of potential and sheer talent but holds itself back with its own script.

GRADE: B-

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4 Responses to “Widows Review”

  1. MovieManJackson October 29, 2018 at 7:54 pm #

    Damn, this is sad to hear.

  2. Ricardo October 30, 2018 at 10:24 pm #

    Damn…McQueen’s Shame is one of the finest films I’ve seen, and 12 Years a Slave is also really good. very curious now

  3. peggyatthemovies October 31, 2018 at 1:12 pm #

    uuuggghh… I am seeing it next week and was so hoping it to be Oscar material. There hasn’t been much this year. :/

    • polarbears16 November 1, 2018 at 6:34 pm #

      I’m definitely in the minority on this! But I agree about this year, it’s been weak

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