November 22, 2017

R: November 22nd, 2017 | R: 121 minutes | R: R

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was everything you could want and more in a dark comedy. Frances McDormand returns in a role only she can play so well – a sharp-tongued mother who wants answers. Her daughter had been raped and murdered seven months ago and the police department is no closer to finding answers than when it happened. McDormand sees to speeding this process up by purchasing the three billboards on the way into town and to call out the police force and the captain particularly, played by Woody Harrelson. This opens the floodgates for anarchy to break out throughout the town.

Three Billboards has everything you could want in a dark comedy/crime drama. There’s witty humor and tough scenes, making it impossible to decide what characters you like. Sam Rockwell has an amazing performance as a tough cop who can’t keep his head straight – turning too quickly to violence. The characters take matters into their own hands, from beating each other up to burning down the police station, and you can’t help but chuckle along the way.

Frances McDormand commands the screen throughout the movie, threatening and insulting everyone that crosses her path to finding answers and relieving the deep-seeded guilt she has for the loss of her daughter. The rest of the cast is phenomenal as well with Lucas Hedges on the big screen again as her depressed son stuck trying to decide if he accepts his mother’s mission or is embarrassed by it and Peter Dinklage, the “town midget” who’s just a hopeless romantic following McDormand around whenever possible. Harrelson and Rockwell shine as well, with Harrelson as the deputy chief at the center of the billboards, who turns out to be terminally ill and was just trying to enjoy the shortened rest of his life and Rockwell as the character you love to hate – an alcoholic cop living at home with his mother, riddled with so much self-hatred that the violence he radiates makes you want to feel sorry for him, but also hate him. My biggest complaint was with the casting of Abbie Cornish (Limitless) as Harrelson’s wife. She carries a subtle accent and is noticeably younger than Harrelson, so instead of focusing on the few, heartfelt scenes they shared, I spent most of those scenes finding it unbelievable that this young, beautiful, well-educated, possibly foreign woman would ever end up down in a small town in Missouri married to a police chief.

McDonagh really pushes the limits of comedy in this movie – daring you to laugh at some of the offensive humor, while looking around to make sure others are laughing too. This movie delivers emotional punches and great one-liners while tackling real-world issues, so if you’re sensitive to violence and issues like racism and sexism, then this movie is not for you. Otherwise, get to the theaters and see Frances McDormand in her best role since Fargo.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Lauren Lauren (Contributor) is born and raised in South Jersey. When she isn’t yelling at Philly sports teams on the TV, she enjoys seeing the latest action films and true crime documentaries.
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