Length: 1h 55m
Rating: R, for violence, language, and sexual references.
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is a compelling, exciting and introspective film. It captures the struggles of loss, finding hope when all seems hopeless and doing it when the odds are stacked against you.
We follow the story of Mildred Hayes, played by the talented Frances McDormand. Following the death of her daughter, and inaction by the local police department, she decides to buy up three abandoned billboards and call them out on it.
Doing this, Mildred causes controversy and upsets much of the town. She is threatened and urged to get rid of the signs, but she doesn’t back down and will not be intimidated. The primary target of her billboards, Chief Willoughby, played by Woody Harrelson, is not pleased with the signs, but he takes their presence with more grace than others.
Antics ensue as people continue to deal with the signs in their own way. Sometimes humorous, other times violent. Mildred’s ex-husband comes into play and Mildred’s son, played by Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird and Manchester by the Sea), is along for the whole ride.
This film is a great example of character development. A number of characters are forced to examine themselves, their actions and beliefs, and to decide who they want to be going forward. Will they continue the piddle-paddling, or will they find ways to positively contribute?
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri captures the mundaneness of small town living and the idea that everybody knows everybody. Causing controversy, or alienating your neighbors, goes a long way and you can be sure that everyone is going to hear about it quickly.
This film is not for the faint of heart, as there are vulgarity and violence. However, it is a worthwhile viewing experience and a film you will not soon forget about. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri may be in line to receive some awards, plus Oscar attention.
This review was crossposted with The Moderate Voice