Widows is based on a British TV series from the mid-'80s, but adapted by McQueen and Flynn, it becomes a thoroughly modern American story set in Chicago. In a miraculously constructed opening sequence that bounces between heist and the intimate moments of the soon-to-be widows and their partners, we learn that Liam Neeson's Harry Rawlings is the leader of a group of robbers involved in a job gone wrong that ends in all of the men's fiery deaths and a stolen $2 million burned up. The money belonged to the local alderman candidate, Jamal Manning (Brian Tyree Henry), and his menacing henchman (Daniel Kaluuya), who track down Harry's wife, Veronica (Viola Davis), to collect their missing funds. Veronica is an employee for the teacher's union living an immaculately curated life on Lakeshore Drive. An adorable West Highland terrier is constantly by her side in her pristine apartment. This pooch serves an important purpose as the plot unfolds.
Harry left behind a notebook extensively detailing a plan for his next job, and, determined to complete it herself, Veronica seeks out the women who are equally invested in securing money: the widows of the other victims, each of whom have their own struggles to overcome in the wake of the accident. Linda's (Michelle Rodriguez) store was taken away; Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) has never provided for herself. If you're familiar with Flynn's work, you know not to expect uncomplicated female solidarity, and once again, she delivers here. Despite the widows' common goal, they are not chummy. They are bound solely by need, so there's a grimness to their mission.