Sometimes a film comes along that plays with your expectations. As you watch it, you may expect it to be heading in one direction, only for it to swerve and take you in another. Despite possessing a mouthful of a title, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a phenomenal and original experience for all adult audiences.
The movie follows Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand), a mother racked with grief and bitterness ever since her daughter was found raped and murdered. It’s been seven months since the horrid event, and the Ebbing police have failed to yield results. So, the mother decides to make a point as she rents out three billboards where she calls out the police for their failure to produce results, signaling out the Chief of Police himself, William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). Her actions only anger the town, including Willoughby’s friend and fellow officer, Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell). Despite the backlash Mildred receives because of the billboards she refuses to remove them, hoping the billboards will serve as a form of motivation to push the Ebbing police force into finishing their investigation once and for all, and finally locate her daughter’s killer.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a fascinating and original plot. This is the kind of film which raises many questions, both from the plot and its delivery, but without simply handing the answers over; creating a thought-provoking experience I haven’t had since “Blade Runner 2049.” Despite the morbid tone of the plot, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” can also be considered a dark comedy. Not through slapstick and crude humor, but through its clever dialogue and witty delivery, which had the audience booming with laughter during those scenes.
The movie has received high praises for the acting, and after watching it first hand, I can confirm it is worthy of such praise. Frances McDormand is an absolute treasure on screen. Her portrayal of Mildred Hayes, a take no lip woman with a good head on her shoulders, is one of the main highlights of the film. Instead of spending the whole movie mourning over her loss, she takes action, and won’t let anything stand in her way. However, I must also award praise to Sam Rockwell for his portrayal of Jason Dixon, the shortsighted, violent, and bigoted police officer. I can’t go into full detail without risking spoilers, but believe me when I say that this man left me stunned silent for some of his scenes, and by the end, I was singing praise for Sam Rockwell. I can’t end this review, however, without giving some kudos to Woody Harrelson for his performance as the level headed Chief Willoughby, the one character in the movie who literally is the only thing keeping the situation from spiraling into chaos.
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is rated R for violence, some sexual references, and language throughout the film. This is not the type of movie for someone who is turned off by a story that overuses swear words, because this film is full of them. I think the movie used just about every curse word in the southern dictionary. Regardless, this is a mustsee for anyone looking for an original, funny, but dark drama flick. Which is why the final score for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is an 8.5 out of 10.
Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.