THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI – 9
In a word: Dark
This is a movie for wannabe movie actors, who seriously study the art of acting by watching every move, every expression every nuance, every word spoken (or unspoken) by star, Frances McDormand, the quintessential thespian. This is what Oscar performances are made of.
The plot surrounds the single, middle-aged mother of a girl who had been raped and murdered in a small town in Missouri, where the perpetrator(s) were never caught or brought to justice. After several months of no action by police, Frances Hayes (played by McDormand) runs out of patience and proceeds to rent three dilapidated billboards, in consecutive arrangement, off a desolate road near blue-collar Ebbing, Missouri (a town that does not exist) where she pastes three large signs that read: 1) RAPED WHILE DYING, 2) STILL NO ARRESTS and 3) HOW COME CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?
The bold action by the take-no-crap woman ignites a firestorm of reactions from the entire town, including the chief of police whose name appears on one of those signs, deftly played by Woody Harrelson. Enemies erupt from everywhere, but this is one tough gal who dazzles and puzzles the authorities in her demands to stimulate the cops into doing something, anything but nothing in her quest for justice. She cannot be intimidated.
The story is engaging, though there are a few implausibles that I think the writer/director could have tweaked with a tinge more reality, but it did not take away from the intensity of the film. Some folks might criticize the movie as being overly doused with profanities, but in this region and considering the nature of the characters, it all seemed natural and realistic.
If you’re looking for humor or light-hearted comedy, don’t see this movie. If you can be engrossed with deep drama and superb acting, don’t miss this picture.
I will not reveal any more about the story. That would be a spoiler.
Look for some Academy Award nominations, mainly for Frances McDormand, who already won an Oscar for Fargo in 1997. Unique about her is that her claim to fame has little to do with beauty, sex or star power. She personifies all of us, the purity of middle America in her character while shining a light on real acting skills.
Popular movie review web site, Rotten Tomatoes, gave this move a 94% out of 100. That’s a rarity.
I rate this movie 9 out of 10.