Over the weekend I watched the 2017 release Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. It’s a very good film and Frances McDormand does great work in it. The only other movie I’ve seen Frances McDormand in is Fargo. The two films have a lot in common.
Both films are centered around a mysterious crime in a small town which is McDormand’s sweet spot from what I can tell. In Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri. Frances McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a single mother of two teenagers. Her daughter Angela becomes a victim of a rape and murder during a night out. The local police force doesn’t make any progress in finding the girl’s rapist and murderer. Months go by with no leads and no contact from the police department.
Mildred decides to buy billboard space on the edge of town. The three billboards have a bold and confrontational message. The ask the town police chief played by Woody Harrelson in bold block letters why no arrests have been made in her daughter’s case.
The billboards quickly become controversial because they challenge the town’s sense of righteousness. The Ebbing police department had been accused of race based police brutality but the billboards which spotlight lackadaisical police work in the murder of a local White girl angered the townsfolk. I’m sure they like to think of themselves as God fearing, salt of the Earth kind of people.
Mildred becomes the town pariah but I don’t think it mattered much to her. She doesn’t seem to socialize much and she doesn’t scare easily. Through a peculiar chain of events the police department is inspired to put more energy into solving the mystery of Angela’s death.
Frances McDormand plays a resilient and stoic woman that pushes back when she is pushed, or ignored. I was moved to tears watching this imperfect mother fight for her daughter’s honor. Angela was a bad girl which may be the reason that the town didn’t rally around her mother. Mildred is a bad girl too and she couldn’t rest while the world went moved on without anyone being brought to justice for killing her daughter.
This is definitely a good movie and worth your time. It is dark without being too vulgar and there are several interesting plot twists. The movie pulled at my heart strings. If you haven’t seen Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri add it to your to see list.