Having recently won the People’s Choice Awards at TIFF, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is very easy to see why it won.
Three Billboards is a dark but also funny and heart-felt story about one woman’s quest to get justice for her daughter’s rape and murder. After Mildred Haynes buys three billboards with words written on them accusing the town’s well-liked sheriff of having not found her daughter’s killer, it sets a series of events that turns the citizens and the cops against her.
The thing I can say about Three Billboards without going into spoilers is that it is wildly unpredictable. One moment you think things are going one direction as expected then it takes hard left turn that only adds to the dynamic between the characters. As the pressure within the town builds and anger is pointed towards Mildred, we see many of these characters evolve in order to deal with tragedy and grief and learn to find peace. And the movie goes through a roller-coaster of emotions. One moment you are laughing your butt off from the hilarious dialogue then you feel like someone just punched you in the gut. With every victory you think this story brings you feel like it was taken away from because of the world’s unfairness and injustice. In lesser hands the mixture of dark and comedic tones would not work, but director and writer Martin McDonagh knows how to balance them to perfection.
The performances here just through the roof. Frances McDormand delivers a performance that will for sure get her into the Lead Actress awards race at the Oscars. As Mildred, McDormand just cuts loose with her performance with every line of hate, cynicism and cursing towards everyone she feels doesn’t truly understand the internal pain she is going through. But McDormand does now and then show a soft side to Mildred. It shows that Mildred is just person like everyone who has her own way of dealing with the tragedy of loosing her own child. And Sam Rockwell also gives one of the best performances of his career as the flawed and very misguided cop Dixon. The character of Dixon is short-tempered, volatile, and not bright with some baggage of his own that the locals accuse him of. But Sam Rockwell brings his charm and sincerity to what could be a rather unlikable character. And in the latter half, you see Dixon go through a tremendous arc of learning to care about others rather then just being angry towards them. Other great performances that should be called out are Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, John Hawk and Caleb Landry Jones.
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is easily one of the best movies this year and is worth seeing once it comes out in wide releases.
A thought-provoking and darkly comedic drama with lots to say
“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” marks a milestone for writer/directer Martin McDonagh and is an idea piece on a mother’s struggle with her town after posting billboards containing a call to action in regards to her murdered daughter. With outstanding screen writing and near perfect editing, this powerhouse of a film is easily one of the best all year and is driven with force and intensity by its lead, Frances McDormand.
What begins as a narrow and focused drama, gradually escalates to a film with big themes and ideas, relevant social commentary, and much more subplots than anticipated. “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” is packed with questions and a few answers about anger, revenge, violence, and kindness. The story shows people in a realistic light I’ve never quite seen before. We’re presented with characters and their genuine emotions. Nothing feels sugarcoated of fluffed but it never lacks emotional impact either.
The movie balances its seemingly contradictory tones beautifully by crafting a dark comedy that feels heavy due to strong subject matter, while at the same time, utilizing comedic moments that feel completely natural to the character’s motivations. It’s obvious great care was taken into this script and the method in which it’s constructed.
One of the most talked about elements to this film are the strong performances; particularly by Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. Rightfully so, this is some of their best (if not their best) work these eyes have beheld and they steal the show in every film they’re in. That’s not take away from Woody Harrelson and Lucas Hedges, as well as the entire cast who give memorable performances and paint shockingly believable characters that we feel we know personally.
If there is anything that might turn audiences away from this film, it might be its harsh subject matter despite none of it every being depicted as well as its language and execution with the material. Personally, this has a strong impact and I wouldn’t have changed anything about it. It’s a highly recommended film with a lot to ponder at the end and is definitely a contender for best movie of the year. Definitely don’t miss this one.
Extremely funny film about grief, anger, revenge and violence
It seemed that the pregnant police detective Marge Gunderson from ‘Fargo’ would forever be the most memorable character of Frances McDormand’s acting career. But now I’m not so sure. Mildred Hayes, the heroine from ‘Three Billboards’, is a serious contender. This might well be her best performance ever.
The part of Mildred Hayes was written with McDormand in mind. Hayes is a divorced single mother, living with her son on the outskirts of a small, remote town. She had a daughter too, but the girl was raped and killed on a quiet mountain road not far from home. Frustrated by the lack of progress of the investigation, Hayes decides to rent three dilapidated billboards, publicly accusing the local police chief of incompetence. By doing so, she attracts the attention of the media, angers almost the entire town and causes a succession of increasingly violent actions.
Although the film is about grief, anger, revenge and violence, it is extremely funny. Above all because of Mildred Hayes’ stubborn character and her ability to verbally humiliate people by her extremely sharp tongue. The monologue she delivers when a priest visits her house to tell her she has gone too far, is priceless.
Apart from McDormand’s performance, the screenplay is another great feature of this film. The story is full of unexpected twists, gradually shifting the positions of the main characters towards each other. None of the characters are one-dimensional: they all reveal surprising parts of their personalities as the story moves forward.
And then there is the overall, almost Coen-esque atmosphere of a small town full of colourful characters. There is a racist cop, a friendly midget, a smart advertising guy and a pretty girl who is so dumb she doesn’t know the difference between polo and polio.
It is hard to mention something negative about this film. ‘Three Billboards’ is, from start to finish, a great movie. I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it.
A comedic masterpiece with a stellar leading performance from Frances McDormand
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a dark comedy that has an a-list cast with names like Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage. It centers around Mildred Hayes, a woman whose daughter was raped and killed, and who believes that the local police have not done enough about it. In reaction, she erects three billboards outside of her town that send a message to the sheriff about the state of the investigation.
Writer/director Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges) has outdone himself with this one. In my opinion, if this isn’t one of the top Oscar contenders come awards season, then Hollywood has officially lost its mind.
Basically everything about this film works: from the acting, to the writing, to the direction. Mcdormand gives the performance of her career here, giving us humor through all the pain clearly shown on her face. Rockwell also gives his best performance here as a cop who isn’t that bright and is more than a little racist.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is probably the most unpredictable film of the year, and that’s coming from a year that includes films like Baby Driver and Logan. There are scenes where you think that you know where the plot is going, but then midway through it completely flips the script.
For the entire run-time of this film, I was invested. It has the perfect run-time; it ends exactly when it needs to and there is not a scene that feels out of place.
It seems like one of the hardest things to do in film nowadays is to balance comedy and drama. However, this movie does it effortlessly. Each scene has just the right amount of comedy and drama, and sometimes, despite the fact that you’re laughing, it’s easy to forget that jokes are being made.
Also, the message that this film gives off resonates very powerfully with you after the film finishes. It makes you see the good side in humanity, despite our flaws. No character in this film is a cliché one-dimensional shell of a person. Everybody has a reason for being there, which is more than some films recently have offered.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is easily one of the best and most enjoyable films of 2017, and it will make you laugh, cry, and think all in one sitting. There are not any clear flaws with this film that I can find, but I am still searching.
I give Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri an A+.