“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” has been in release since November and it recently won the Golden Globe for best picture. And it is now the front runner to win that coveted Oscar.
Well, is it worthy of all the praise? The short answer is yes, it’s such a masterpiece from first frame to last shot. Even with that statement, I’m getting ahead of myself.
It stars Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes, a divorced mother living in the small town of Ebbing, Missouri, whose daughter was brutally raped and murdered a year earlier and there is still no justice brought to her or her daughter’s killers. She decides to buy three billboards that draw the attention of the local police and specifically its town sheriff (Woody Harrelson).
The sheriff isn’t too pleased with the billboards, but he’s a lot more rational than his racist, foul-mouthed, mama’s boy second-in-command (Sam Rockwell). His character doesn’t have a shred of conscience regarding the mother or the murder.
It isn’t long before the rest of the town turns on Mildred due to her antagonistic relationship with the sheriff and their apathy toward the case. Not only is she still dealing with her daughter’s death, but she’s also struggling with the idea that her ex is now dating a 19-year-old.
She is not having a good day.
The performances delivered by McDormand, Harrelson and Rockwell are pitch-perfect and reinforced by a brilliantly conceived screenplay by writer/director Martin McDonaugh. He, along with his actors, craft a film that is subtle in some of its approaches and downright jolting in others.
At times, it’s darkly, blisteringly funny, and at others, it’s excruciatingly somber. No matter which way it turns, there’s something incredible to behold in every scene. My only regret is that I can’t redo my 10 best list of 2017 again. If I could, this might’ve landed at No. 1.
However, I am having a vision that in 2020 when I do my list for the best movies of the 2010s, don’t be surprised if this occupies one spot.
Rated R for violence, language throughout, and some sexual references.
Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.