Viola Davis is immense in Steve McQueen’s gripping crime story. When her husband dies in a shootout with police, Veronica inherits his $2 million debt to a local mobster, and a notebook with plans to rip-off the vault of a local politico. She persuades the other women bereaved in the massacre (Michelle Rodriguez; Elizabeth Debicki) to help her pull off the job. But in this world, it’s impossible to know who to trust.
McQueen (12 Years a Slave; Hunger) and co-screenwriter Gillian Flynn keeps the narrative line twisting through and across the political fault-lines of contemporary Chicago, and shows how precarious economic security can be for any woman. One ostentatious single take carries us on a two-minute drive from a working class black ward to a privileged upper middle class white neighbourhood, and it’s as if we’ve gone from one galaxy to another. But in Davis, Rodriguez et al, there is the ferocious determination to fight back and stake their claim. It’s one of the most underrated American movies of the past decade, and the ensemble cast takes some beating: Jackie Weaver, Garret Dillahunt, Lukas Haas, Cynthia Erivo, Kevin J O’Connor…
There may be no honor amongst thieves, but at least one thing is true: Viola Davis knows a thing or two about getting away with murder.
Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle
Widows is methodical in its imagery and gracefully written; it’s also a suspenseful blast.
David Sims, The Atlantic
Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Brian Tyree Henry
Sunday February 19
Daniel Battsek, Sue Bruce-Smith, Rose Garnett, Bergen Swanson
Iain Canning, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Emile Sherman
Gillian Flynn, Steve McQueen
Catch More Black History Month Programming
Also in Icons
The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
This boisterous comedy about a breakaway barnstorming Black baseball team in the 1930s should be better known. It's an entertaining gloss on one enterprising ball player's resourceful response to segregated leagues, with Star Wars' Billy Dee Williams.
Under the Cherry Moon (35mm)
Prince is Christopher Tracy, a gigolo on the French Riviera, determined to seduce $50 million heiress Kristin Scott Thomas (!). The pop star's directorial debut is a quirky, fun throwback to old school Hollywood glamour, with knobs on.
The most important movie Marvel has made to date, this Black blockbuster is a triumph for Creed director Ryan Coogler and star Chadwick Boseman. After the death of his father, T'Challa returns to the African nation of Wakanda to take his place as king.
Dear Jackie (Free Screening)
Henri Pardo's film is a cinematic letter to Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in Major League Baseball and a civil rights activist who broke the colour barrier when he joined the minor-league Montreal Royals in 1946. For a short time, the impossible seemed possible in a segregated North America.
James Baldwin Abroad: Istanbul - Paris - London
These three short docs, from 1968 - 1973, offer sharp, piercing glimpses of Baldwin in private and public, sometimes in repose and relaxed but more often holding forth, embroiled in the thorny discourse of racial politics, identity and self expression.
"This Time It's Personal" Films by Camille Billops & James Hatch (Programme 1)
Trailblazing artist and polymath Camille Billops and her partner James Hatch were courageous independent filmmakers who chronicled the ups and downs of their personal lives and family histories, and found in them the temperature of their times.
"This Time It's Personal" Films by Camille Billops & James Hatch (Programme 2)
The second programme in our short selection of independent films by Camille Bishops and James Hatch includes what is probably their masterpiece, Finding Christa, a deeply personal film about Camille's relationship with the daughter she gave up for adoption as a child.
Our Dance of Revolution
Award-winning documentary on the history of Black queer activism in Toronto, on communities that have faced every adversity from invisibility to police brutality.
Brown's moving film zeroes in on the descendants of the 110 slaves brought in on the last known slave ship to transport kidnapped Africans to America as human cargo, an illegal shipment undertaken as a bet by a local landowner, Timothy Meaher.
Alice Diop’s superb film, based on a notorious case of infanticide from a few years ago, subtly, almost surreptitiously evokes complex ideas and emotions around motherhood, gender, and marginalized communities.
Living in LA in 1968, French novelist Romain Gary adopts a stray Alsation, but to his horror discovers it has been trained to attack Blacks. His wife, the actress Jean Seberg argues it must be put down, but Gary insists it can be retrained...