Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Reviews
The film follows Mildred Hayes' dealing with the circumstance and grief of her daughter's death, unsolved by police.
The billboards she pays to have put up, are an attempt to goad the police into action, -'raped whilst dying' and calling out the chief of police, are very powerful.
To match this the dramatic reveal of what the billboards say is clever as they are shown back to front, increasing the enigma of why she feels so strongly for the cause she is fighting for.
Mildred's character is interesting as she strays away from the common motherly stereotype. She knows how to stand her ground, and is quite rough around the edges. This was very fitting with the role her character has, the intensity of her character, and how we are supposed to sympathize with her.
This film has a lot of action and is a very intense watch. It includes rape, murder, suicide, adultery, domestic abuse, and long-term illnesses, challenging topics explored in the narrative. The convincing characters draw the audience into feeling very involved, and this consequently makes the plot more thought-provoking.
I would highly recommend this film, but feel it is important to know that it is not a 'light watch' and will likely leave you feeling heavy-hearted and will provoke lots of thoughts and emotions.
I also love Frances McDormand, and I think Sam Rockwell is a seriously overlooked & underestimated actor. So I was completely stoked to see this movie, and then so disappointed. I think more than anything, it shows that the delicate balancing act McDonagh had with IN BRUGES, where awful behavior from awful people could actually be made sympathetic and exciting, is harder to juggle than one might think.
In the film, McDormand plays a mother whose teen daughter has been murdered. She lives on the edge of a small Missouri town, and rents 3 nearby billboards and uses them to call out (in large letters) local law enforcement (particularly sheriff Woody Harrelson) for their lack of progress on her daughter's case. These anger billboards stir up major resentments throughout town, and McDormand responds with a level of vitriol that is a sight to behold. This part is perfect for her in so many ways...it's as though her OLIVE KITTERIDGE character has become an avenging angel. She's got such a great combination of smarts, sarcasm and foul-mouth. Yet when the script calls for moments of vulnerability, she nails those too, and can be pretty heartbreaking.
Rockwell is sensational, His role appears to be very skin-deep but he continues to evolve before our eyes, and his character progression ends up becoming the most interesting. He plays the role of a sheriff's deputy whose resentment for McDormand and his own seething anger at himself are all tangled up. And as the sheriff, Harrelson is convincing and often touching. Frankly, everyone is pretty darn good. Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, Caleb Landy Jones and on and on. Everyone tears into their juicy parts with gusto.
The problem is the direction (and maybe the underlying script). Remember the balance I talked about with IN BRUGES? Well, it's all off here. Some bad things happen or people do bad things with really bad consequences. And it's not entertaining. We suddenly stop by sympathetic for people we were set up to root for. I suppose one could argue that the film shows how anger, resentment, revenge, etc. just never work out...but the film fails to demonstrate WHILE keeping our sympathy. The events of the story (rather than the characters) become too much, too mean-spirited. Towards the end, moments that should have been "tear-jerkers" are just hard to tolerate. Characters literally get away with things they shouldn't. As the plot unwinds, the plot turns feel unearned and arbitrary. McDonagh reveals a mean streak that's not terribly attractive or engaging.
I suspect the film will be nominated for lots of awards, particularly for acting. And they are deserved. This is far from a terrible movie. But I also suspect many nominees will remain just that...nominees and not winners. (The best shot for a win is Sam Rockwell, and I'd be okay with that. He's pretty amazing in this film.) By all means see it...but not if you have delicate sensibilities. If you're okay with lots of people behaving badly, swearing a HUGE amount and things not working out like you'd prefer...you should find plenty to admire.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a movie which I knew nothing about, only that it was good. So watching the movie was a real surprise. It's story is so compelling and serious yet funny. There are just some scenes that are really, really serious and then a joke gets made and it's just hilarious. The writing on this movie is great too. I just love it is all I can say.
I'm not sure how I feel....or rather at the moment I'm overwhelmed by McDonagh's gut punch of a film.
The movie puts you through the ringer and is so full of rage (and I mean rage with a huge Capitol R) mixed with beautiful moments of unexpected tenderness .
To me, The film seems to be a story about the importance of self forgiveness.
The open ended/somewhat ambiguous ending left me feeling emotionally..I guess...lost and terribly sad. (During the last scene I personally found myself whispering to the characters Mildred and Dixon, "Please come to your senses, make the correct choice!")
I doubt that anyone who views this film will be able to be indifferent about what they have just witnessed. There are a few plot points that are questionable.. but overall, very effective.
For very personal reasons, from the few Oscar Best Picture nominees that I've seen, I wish CALL ME BY YOUR NAME would pick up the statue for Best Picture, but it doesn't stand a chance.
Sam Rockwell is definitely going to win best supporting actor, he's a fantastic actor and it's a VERY showy role. (although I still think Michael Stuhlbarg should have been nominated and should have won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his amazingly beautiful/understated performance in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME).
I have no doubt Frances McDormand will win the Oscar for Best Actress and with her fierce uncompromising performance as Mildred Hayes, she probably deserves the award. The only thing is.. I still haven't seen THE SHAPE OF WATER and I always LOVE the work of Sally Hawkins.
If you haven't seen THREE BILLBOARDS.. do yourself a favor and go see it or rent it. However, if you are sensitive to strong violence and rough/foul mouthed language (McDonagh's dialogue makes playwright/screenwriter David Mamet's language seem tame) you may want to pass on THREE BILLBOARDS.
One final note: The scene with the deer still moves me immensely, no matter how many time's I've seen it (it's in the trailer for the film). It's a fantastic scene!