Movie Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Today was movie day with a friend. There were a few movies we’ve been thinking about seeing and decided on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri today! I had high hopes for this one…..good cast line up……good story…….a trailer that grabbed my attention……looked good! Well, I can sum up my response to that in just five words: “You can’t like them all”!

Actually, I do believe this could have been a really good movie – I did like the story and the basic idea behind it – I did like the actors and thought they did a good job in their roles…..but my positive thoughts end there. It was a dark, sad story of depression, racism, good-ole-boy mentality, and all that is bad about some small towns. The bad language was over the top and I thought the movie was just plain depressing and offensive.

That being said…….it actually did the job it apparently intended to do – it sparked some pretty strong emotions in me! And, it portrayed a topic that is messy and not something that can be presented lightly. So, yeah — it was meant to be all those things — it just isn’t the kind of movie I want to see when I go out with a friend for an afternoon matinee!

So – the story is about Mildred, played brilliantly by Francis McDormand, whose daughter, Angela, is brutally raped and murdered on a lonely stretch of road outside of town seven or so months prior to the start of the story. Mildred feels the police have not given her daughter’s case the attention it deserves and can not get past it. Her depression fuels her rage and she decides to rent three billboards on the same stretch of road Angela was murdered on – in the old burma-shave style, they briefly describe the crime and ask why there has been no arrests – challenging them to do their jobs and find the guy who killed her daughter. This sparks major controversy in the town and gets the attention of the local police…..not necessarily in a good way. Woody Harrelson plays Police Chief Willoughby, who she personally names on the billboards – Harrelson does a very good job of showing the turmoil going on in Willoughby’s life both professionally and personally. Then, there is Officer Dixon, played very convincingly by Sam Rockwell – a hateful, racist, ignorant, horrible man that has no business being in the position he’s in. Other characters include Mildred’s son, friends, and ex-husband, other police officers, and more notably, the young man who runs the advertising company that rents the billboards to Mildred.

I felt deeply for Mildred – her life is totally consumed with depression over the loss of her daughter. I also, although not at first, felt sorry for Willoughby. I absolutely hated Officer Dixon – at one point, I was sure we were going to find that HE was the one who killed Angela cause he just seemed like that kind of a guy. I also hated the way these characters treated each other and talked to each other —- even the family relationships —- it was very upsetting!

And, I think the worst part is that it just “ends”…….all of a sudden the screen went black and the credits started to roll and I sat there, threw my hands up, and said “that’s it????”!!!! Totally leave you hanging…….and not in a good anticipation, draw your own conclusion kinda way!!!!

So…….I guess I don’t have to say it, but I rate this one a C…….the only reason it isn’t much less than a C is because it was obviously meant to elicit strong emotions and it definitely did that – I also recognize that the topic is one that could really only be presented in a dark way……and, that’s OK and I still think it could have been a really good movie, if it was done a little differently and put together a little better! My advice — if you really think you want to see this one, save your money and wait for it to come on the small screen! Like I said, you can’t like them all…….

Here’s the official trailer…….

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