Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri after only a few minutes becomes a story of real people living their anger, pain, loss, illness, and even dark humor before our eyes. In fact, the audience shares in their reactions as we are also called to view these emotions and events through our own experiences. How sympathetic and empathetic am I to others pain and grief?
Martin McDonagh’s award winning screenplay is tightly written with quick retorts and insight even from raised eye brows and quick smirks. His writing has not a word to waste like the playwright he is. In fact, I decided to see the film because McDonagh wrote In Bruges one of my favorite films from years past which has great character development in the story of Irish hit men. Collin Farrell was in his best role and performance and I think that happened because he was allowed to be the actor and person he is.
Frances McDormand who is best known as the police officer in the film Fargo gives a stellar performance. McDormand plays Mildred whose daughter, Angela, was murdered and after months and months no arrests or even leads have come forth. Mildred decides to rent three billboards to embarrass and spur the sheriff to action in this unsolved case. Ironically, a film with this story would have been the plot of solving the crime in the film. But the story is about several of the small town people and how they live with their emotions. The murder becomes the back story.
The film has already been nominated for a Golden Globe and received the highest award at the prestigious Venice Film Festival with an enthusiastic seven minute standing ovation.
If you like thoughtful films with examples of people with real life pain, loss, anger, and understanding of how others are coping, I strongly recommend and give it five stars
* * * * * The image above is the heart of the film where Mildred talks to the sheriff and she understands and feels the pain and loss he is also feeling.
Certainly this is a lesson I need to remember and not just be selfishly consumed in my own situation. We all want mercy and should remember others do as well.
The language is rough and crude and prevalent. Sadly we have all come to expect that but I feel obligated to mention it.