*What happens when the mother of all mothers comes face to face with what she perceives as lackadaisical police work?
We find out in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” a story about Mildred Hayes, a mother finding it difficult to come to terms with her daughter’s brutal rape and murder.
Frances McDormand, who plays Mildred, gives an academy award caliber performance…again (she won the Best Actress Award in 1996 for her role in “Fargo”).
Mildred looks tired, acts tired, is tired and is ready to boil over. When she decides the Ebbing Police Department is not doing enough to solve her daughter’s rape and murder, she takes matters into her own hands and rents three dilapidated billboards on a road leading into Ebbing and posts a not too subtle message calling out Bill Willoughby, the Chief of Police, a well-loved, cancer stricken man.
Mildred is not the warm and fuzzy type, so needless to say the town likes Chief Bill more than they like sourpuss Mildred and shows their displeasure at Mildred’s treatment of Bill. They basically feel she should just get over it.
Bill Willoughby, played by Woody Harrelson, is very likeable and is actually doing all that can be done to solve Mildred’s daughter’s murder. The problem is, in less than a year, the trail has already gone cold, a fact Mildred cannot accept.
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Unlike Chief Willoughby, Deputy Dixon, played by Sam Rockwell, who also gives an Oscar worthy performance, is not loved by all. Instead, he is a racist mama’s boy who gets off on torturing Blacks and throwing people from windows. Fear not, there is a twist with his character. Is he human after all?
The relationships that Mildred has in the movie with various people are a bit off the beaten path. There wasn’t one person who was exempt from her wrath; not her son, not her ex-husband, not her dentist, not even the clergy and especially not the reporters who visit the billboards.
“Three Billboards” is worth seeing, just for the performances of McDormand and Rockwell. It was originally released on Friday, November 17, 2017; however, because of its success at the recent Golden Globe Awards, it has been brought back for another go round. Check it out.
Speaking of awards, ewe must mention that the controversial film (because of some scenes involving race) is also nominated for 4 awards at tonight’s SAG/Screen Actors Guild Awards to be broadcast over TBS.
Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles based writer/reviewer. Contact her via MzSportJunkie@gmail.com.