A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter's murder when they fail to catch the culprit.
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.
- Dec 7, 2017