Widows (2018): ‘The life of the Wife of a Criminal’ – A Film Review



Actually based upon a 80’s TV show, but seemingly fitting into the many heist films that have been popping up recently (Ocean’s Eight, King of Thieves and American Animals amongst them), Widows is Steve McQueen’s latest film. Despite the cast and title seeming to hint that this film could feel a lot like Ocean’s Eight, they couldn’t be more different. Notably, many of the previous heist films seem to want to do something different and though the same could be said Widows, perhaps it goes as far as calling Widows a heist film just rather reduces it to less than what it really is.


The Tensions

Perhaps what Widows delights in most of all is the cold and tense drama, especially the drama to be built up between the characters. This isn’t a particularly jolly film, it has moments where it comes across as rather cynical and the difficulties of the characters cause tensions, that hint at questioning motives – in a similar way to, but in a much more subtle way to, Red Sparrow. Widows, therefore, concentrates on the performances of the characters and the continual threat that they are under. Remarkably the antagonist is largely there but largely absent, being built up but anticlimactic. Meanwhile the film juggles multiple characters and plots, which doesn’t always work, as moments are included, or left out, when it’s not necessary to do so.


Vulnerable Characters…

To help increase the tension, the characters aren’t exactly experts in the fields that they find themselves in and nor do they always act sympathetically. This can help audiences feel their vulnerability, but it also works as an obstacle to feel for them as well. This might have worked better if there had been more focus on dangerous circumstances rather than there just being a possibility that these circumstances could arrive at any moment. That being said the atmosphere can’t be faulted, as well as everything else, the cinematography adds to this sense of secrecy and nervousness that is carried throughout the film to really make Widows an experience.



So, Widows has its impact but also lacks it. Has some depth but also feels as if it has none. Cynical in its outlook and in its treatment of its characters, Widows almost feels like it’s gone all in for a dark tale, but holds far too much back from it being truly something of note. Therefore, it’s a good watch and a good experience, but a perplexing one riddled with problems. In a similar sense to Dunkirk, but coming across as a poor man’s version of that film’s tone. Widows isn’t really a heist film, it is a thriller about people pushed into desperate circumstances and awkward friendships, in which it only some-what succeeds.



After the death of their husbands, a group of widows are left with their criminal husband’s debts and their proposed plans to carry out further heists as, perhaps, one of their few ways out.





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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

American Animals (d. Bart Layton UK/USA 2018)

Dunkirk (d. Christopher Nolan USA/UK/France/Netherlands 2017)

King of Thieves (d. James Marsh UK 2018)

Ocean’s Eight (d. Gary Ross USA 2018)

Red Sparrow (d. Francis Lawrence USA 2018)

Widows (d. Steve McQueen UK/USA 2018)

Further Reading



Official Site

Interview with Steve McQueen

Interview with the Cast

Interview with the Cast 2

Behind the Scenes


Widows Intro


If you liked this

King of Thieves (2018): ‘The Older Heist’ – A Film Review

Ocean’s Eight (2018): ‘All Girl Heist Reboot?’ – A Film Review

Den of Thieves (2018): ‘Emotion and Plot’ – A Film Review

Red Sparrow (2018): ‘The Gritty Spy Film’ – A Film Review

Dunkirk (2017): – A Film Review

Ghostbusters (2016) – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….


Widows (d. Steve McQueen UK/USA 2018)

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