THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comic drama from Academy Award nominee Martin McDonagh (In Bruges). After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Academy Award winner Sam Rockwell), an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated.Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Frances McDormand was hesitant to take the role of Mildred when offered to her, but was eventually convinced by her husband, Joel Coen. She said, "Because at the time he gave it to me I was fifty-eight. I was concerned that women from this socioeconomic strata did not wait until thirty-eight to have their first child. So we went back and forth and we debated that quite for a while, and then finally my husband said, 'Just shut up and do it.'" See more »
The billboards themselves have continuity issues. At the beginning of the movie, Red states that the last renter was Huggies in 1986. We have seen in a drive-by scene that the first billboard actually looks like an ad for a life insurance agency. In thirty years of non-use, the billboards certainly would have been in much worse shape. The metal and wood would have been more twisted by the Missouri winters and windstorms and tornadoes. Much more of the paper would have stripped away, and graffiti would be likely found on what was left. Moreover, once the new lettering is in place, there is also a new black border of wood or metal around the display area on the boards; a character as cheap as Red would not likely have spent money in upgrading the structures. See more »
[walking into his office]
You Red Welby?
Yes, ma'am. How may I help you?
I heard there's three billboards out on Drinkwater Road. You're in charge of renting them out, that right?
I didn't know we had any billboards out on Drinkwater. Where is Drinkwater Road?
It's a road out past the Sizemore turn-off. Nobody uses it since the freeway got put in.
You are right. Got three billboards out there. Nobody's put nothing up out there since 1986. That was 'Huggies'.
How much to rent out all...
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Frances McDormand is a grieving mother who puts up "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri" in this 2017 black comedy directed by Martin McDonagh.
Mildred Hayes (McDormand) is disgusted that the police haven't found her daughter's rapist and killer, so she takes out billboards asking why the chief of police, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) hasn't done anything about the case.
The billboards set off anger, violence, and revenge motifs in this small town. Things become worse when a pent-up police officer, Dixon (Sam Rockwell) becomes enraged and starts acting out.
Lots of swearing, lots of violence, and lots of laughs to be had in this film. It was strange to watch as I had just seen another film, Past Life, that focused on the subject of anger and pain, and how it can eat a person up and destroy them. This film is yet another good illustration of that, as Mildred stops at nothing to make a point.
The one-liners are amazing, and Mildred's speech to the priest who comes by to ask her to remove the billboards is hilarious. The movie is filled with strong performances and equally well-developed characters. We see all of their sides - violent, kind, vengeful, angry, sad; we finally realize they're just people driven in some cases to extremes.
Harrelson's performance is touching -- we're prepared to dislike him but his sincerity and humanity come through. As Dixon, Rockwell seems like a monster, but once he acts out, he's able to focus his energy a little better.
And then there's McDormand, a powerhouse. She's not good ol' Marge in Fargo. She's a tough woman with a broken heart who takes out her anger any way she can. It's a beautiful, multilayered performance. Highly recommended, asking the questions of where revenge and hatred can take us, and deciding when and if it stops.
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