7 fam­ily movies ev­ery­one can agree on

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - A+E - Michael Phillips Tri­bune movie critic

Open­ing this week, the heist thriller “Wid­ows” takes place in Chicago, where it was filmed. But you know what? You never get a shot of the Bean, the Mil­len­nium Park sculp­ture for­mally known as Cloud Gate. You don’t see any of the usual tourist des­ti­na­tions.

Rather, “Wid­ows” is set against vivid cor­ners of Hyde Park, Garfield Park, En­gle­wood and Lawn­dale, as well as shad­owy in­te­ri­ors in­hab­ited by mem­bers of the cor­rupt rul­ing class. At one point Colin Far­rell, who plays the weaselly heir to papa Robert Du­vall’s po­lit­i­cal fief­dom, has a tense drink with some smil­ing ad­ver­saries — one of whom, Far­rell notes, needs money be­cause he has a cou­ple of kids en­rolled at the Latin School. The con­ver­sa­tion in ques­tion, full of fast, mur­mur­ing zingers, takes place in the dark, swank lobby of the down­town Chicago Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion ho­tel.

You do glimpse a bit of Lake Michi­gan from the lake­side condo owned by the main char­ac­ter, Veron­ica, a Chicago Teach­ers Union ad­min­is­tra­tor turned re­luc­tant but highly ca­pa­ble crim­i­nal master­mind played by Vi­ola Davis. But only a bit.

Di­rec­tor Steve McQueen’s first fea­ture since win­ning the Academy Award for “12 Years a Slave,” “Wid­ows” mines Chicago’s tribal con­flicts, com­bat­ive wards (the 18th on the South­west Side, to be spe­cific, though this is fic­tion, not fact) and mythic un­der­world his­tory for more than mere back­ground. The film braids sev­eral sets of char­ac­ters to­gether: black, white, work­ing class, leisure class, un­scrupu­lous and … more un­scrupu­lous. Or mur­der­ous.

“Once we knew we were set­ting it here, we wanted to touch on as many el­e­ments of the city as we could with­out over­pack­ing it,” says screen­writer and Chicago res­i­dent Gil­lian Flynn, best known for her nov­els “Gone Girl” and “Sharp Ob­jects.”


Di­rec­tor Steve McQueen says of Chicago, “The city’s catch­phrase, at least for me, is: ‘I got a guy.’ If you can get away with it, you can get away with it.”


Lin-Manuel Mi­randa and Emily Blunt star in the mu­si­cal “Mary Pop­pins Re­turns,” a se­quel to the 1964 hit.

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