A dark and disturbing comedy, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri keeps you guessing as the story twists on a dime. When Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) becomes frustrated with the local police (led by Woody Harrelson as the Chief of Police, William Willoughby) over their lack of progress on the rape and murder of her daughter, she takes matters into her own hands and pays to have three billboards put up keeping the crime in the town’s eyes.
The town of Ebbing is a small town still caught in the throes of racism and violence. The three billboards effect not only Mrs. Hayes and the Chief of Police but everyone in town, as sides are taken in a showdown between the lovable and dying Willoughby and the angry, bitter Mrs. Hayes.
It’s filled with characters such as the man in charge at the billboard office (Red Welby played by Caleb Landry Jones) who is trying to win the heart of his secretary. A dwarf (played by Peter Dinklage) who is willing to lie to the police in order to win the love of Mrs. Hayes, as well as the second-in-command Officer Dixon (played by Sam Rockwell) is a violent and immature mama's boy, who ends up becoming a better man in the end.
No one in the town is a typical character. Not only is Mildred dealing with the death of her daughter, she’s divorced from her abusive husband and feels guilty for her daughter’s death, all the while trying to maintain the day to day life of a working single mom. It’s her guilt which pushes her to find the real killer so she can finally be free of the guilt. Chief Willoughby is a wonderful father and police officer who is dealing with pancreatic cancer and the pain and suffering that he will face as well as the loss of his own life. He’s determined to find the killer but his time is running out. Officer Dixon’s violence appears to be a result of the death of his father and living with his angry mother who prompts him to violence in order to help the South rise again. But when he learns the sharp sting of violence, he puts his life on the line to gather evidence in an effort to find the killer.
Written and directed by Academy Award winner, Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards sends you down a twisted trail. Just when you think you know what will happen, slam, the story changes. Filled with enough swear words to fill a swear jar, Three Billboards also leaves many questions unanswered at the end of the movie. No you won’t have everything tied up in a holiday bow but that’s okay. Life is messy and sometimes doesn’t go the way you want it to. It’s not a holiday movie, nor is it one you necessarily have to see in the theater but I urge you to see it. The acting is brilliant and the story keeps you hoping for that happy ending.
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