Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Poster

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A thought-provoking and darkly comedic drama with lots to say.
tyson-hunsaker4 December 2017
"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" marks a milestone for writer/directer Martin McDonagh and is an idea piece on a mother's struggle with her town after posting billboards containing a call to action in regards to her murdered daughter. With outstanding screen writing and near perfect editing, this powerhouse of a film is easily one of the best all year and is driven with force and intensity by its lead, Frances McDormand.

What begins as a narrow and focused drama, gradually escalates to a film with big themes and ideas, relevant social commentary, and much more subplots than anticipated. "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri" is packed with questions and a few answers about anger, revenge, violence, and kindness. The story shows people in a realistic light I've never quite seen before. We're presented with characters and their genuine emotions. Nothing feels sugarcoated of fluffed but it never lacks emotional impact either.

The movie balances its seemingly contradictory tones beautifully by crafting a dark comedy that feels heavy due to strong subject matter, while at the same time, utilizing comedic moments that feel completely natural to the character's motivations. It's obvious great care was taken into this script and the method in which it's constructed.

One of the most talked about elements to this film are the strong performances; particularly by Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. Rightfully so, this is some of their best (if not their best) work these eyes have beheld and they steal the show in every film they're in. That's not take away from Woody Harrelson and Lucas Hedges, as well as the entire cast who give memorable performances and paint shockingly believable characters that we feel we know personally.

If there is anything that might turn audiences away from this film, it might be its harsh subject matter despite none of it every being depicted as well as its language and execution with the material. Personally, this has a strong impact and I wouldn't have changed anything about it. It's a highly recommended film with a lot to ponder at the end and is definitely a contender for best movie of the year. Definitely don't miss this one.
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Fires Of The Heart
damian-fuller4 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Frances McDormand is, without question, one of the very best actresses of hers or any generation. Wow! And like most of the greatest she goes for characters who don't ask for sympathy. The truth is in her eyes, always. So, naturally, I followed her every inch of the way. She is surrounded by a fantastic group of actors. Woody Harrelson is just extraordinary but perhaps the biggest surprise is Sam Rockwell making his one eighty not just believable but very moving. Martin McDonagh's writing is the magic potion that keeps everything together and when I say everything I mean everything. Humor and horror as if it were practically the same thing. The dialogue is brilliant and Frances McDorman deserves the last paragraph. Her face is a wonder. Superb performance. Don't miss it.
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Anger, what it begets, and what to do about it
Semisonic17 February 2018
When you think about great cinema, you often imagine some grandiose epic setting which all that greatness builds upon. The likes of Gone With the Wind or Godfather or The Shawshank Redemption, such films span through decades or cover the major historic events.

But a great story isn't necessary grand on the outside. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is like a tiny rabbit hole size of those three wooden screens, but stick a head in - and you'll see a huge empty space laid with people's sorrow, guilt and regret. And that emptiness sucks you in and leaves no way to stay untouched.

But there's also hope. Hope for justice. Hope for retribution. And maybe even hope that it's still not too late to change something, or to change yourself. That nothing is absolutely black and white. That even in the darkest moments of our lives there's some room for a sense of humor, maybe a sad and bitter one but still one worth a warm smile.

This world is a crooked place, where crime often goes unpunished. And Peter Dinklage's small role in this film, as a reference to another not so pretty world where the "happily ever after" way doesn't quite exist, is a stinging reminder of that. TBOEM does not, however, try to pull the magic sword out of the stone and go crush the wicked and protect the righteous. Instead, it shows that sometimes, crumbling under the weight of the evil things that fall on us, we lose our own limits and become those who sow evil ourselves. Anger does beget even more anger.

And maybe the reason that makes America great indeed is that, with all the messed up stuff happening without and within, it's in your culture to value forgiveness, something Christianity teaches everyone but not everyone tends to listen. To suffer without guilt, yet to offer a helping hand to your offender when he's down and wounded. To break the circle of evil and help each other wake that yearning for decency that everyone has inside them, albeit dormant sometimes. Forgiveness is tough, and, just like revenge, it doesn't bring back the things - or people - we've lost. But at least it helps to hold onto what could still be here.

Yeah, it's just a movie, and most people aren't as deep and philosophical as the movie characters can afford to be. But if some unrealistic complexity (and sometimes even wisdom) of the simple people could make some real regular people on the other side of the screen stop and think over their own real regular ways, maybe that's exactly what we need from time to time. Because life is still here, and so are the multiple choices it gives, And which road to choose today, we can still decide along the way.
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A comedic masterpiece with a stellar leading performance from Frances McDormand.
FallonTimberlake201630 October 2017
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a dark comedy that has an a-list cast with names like Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage. It centers around Mildred Hayes, a woman whose daughter was raped and killed, and who believes that the local police have not done enough about it. In reaction, she erects three billboards outside of her town that send a message to the sheriff about the state of the investigation.

Writer/director Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths, In Bruges) has outdone himself with this one. In my opinion, if this isn't one of the top Oscar contenders come awards season, then Hollywood has officially lost its mind.

Basically everything about this film works: from the acting, to the writing, to the direction. Mcdormand gives the performance of her career here, giving us humor through all the pain clearly shown on her face. Rockwell also gives his best performance here as a cop who isn't that bright and is more than a little racist.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is probably the most unpredictable film of the year, and that's coming from a year that includes films like Baby Driver and Logan. There are scenes where you think that you know where the plot is going, but then midway through it completely flips the script.

For the entire run-time of this film, I was invested. It has the perfect run-time; it ends exactly when it needs to and there is not a scene that feels out of place.

It seems like one of the hardest things to do in film nowadays is to balance comedy and drama. However, this movie does it effortlessly. Each scene has just the right amount of comedy and drama, and sometimes, despite the fact that you're laughing, it's easy to forget that jokes are being made.

Also, the message that this film gives off resonates very powerfully with you after the film finishes. It makes you see the good side in humanity, despite our flaws. No character in this film is a cliché one-dimensional shell of a person. Everybody has a reason for being there, which is more than some films recently have offered.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is easily one of the best and most enjoyable films of 2017, and it will make you laugh, cry, and think all in one sitting. There are not any clear flaws with this film that I can find, but I am still searching.

I give Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri an A+.
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A dark, twisted comedy about grief, tragedy and three billboards
GODZILLA_Alpha_Predator18 September 2017
Having recently won the People's Choice Awards at TIFF, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is very easy to see why it won.

Three Billboards is a dark but also funny and heart-felt story about one woman's quest to get justice for her daughter's rape and murder. After Mildred Haynes buys three billboards with words written on them accusing the town's well-liked sheriff of having not found her daughter's killer, it sets a series of events that turns the citizens and the cops against her.

The thing I can say about Three Billboards without going into spoilers is that it is wildly unpredictable. One moment you think things are going one direction as expected then it takes hard left turn that only adds to the dynamic between the characters. As the pressure within the town builds and anger is pointed towards Mildred, we see many of these characters evolve in order to deal with tragedy and grief and learn to find peace. And the movie goes through a roller-coaster of emotions. One moment you are laughing your butt off from the hilarious dialogue then you feel like someone just punched you in the gut. With every victory you think this story brings you feel like it was taken away from because of the world's unfairness and injustice. In lesser hands the mixture of dark and comedic tones would not work, but director and writer Martin McDonagh knows how to balance them to perfection.

The performances here just through the roof. Frances McDormand delivers a performance that will for sure get her into the Lead Actress awards race at the Oscars. As Mildred, McDormand just cuts loose with her performance with every line of hate, cynicism and cursing towards everyone she feels doesn't truly understand the internal pain she is going through. But McDormand does now and then show a soft side to Mildred. It shows that Mildred is just person like everyone who has her own way of dealing with the tragedy of loosing her own child. And Sam Rockwell also gives one of the best performances of his career as the flawed and very misguided cop Dixon. The character of Dixon is short-tempered, volatile, and not bright with some baggage of his own that the locals accuse him of. But Sam Rockwell brings his charm and sincerity to what could be a rather unlikable character. And in the latter half, you see Dixon go through a tremendous arc of learning to care about others rather then just being angry towards them. Other great performances that should be called out are Woody Harrelson, Peter Dinklage, John Hawk and Caleb Landry Jones.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is easily one of the best movies this year and is worth seeing once it comes out in wide releases.
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Anger begets more anger
blanche-27 December 2017
Frances McDormand is a grieving mother who puts up "Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri" in this 2017 black comedy directed by Martin McDonagh.

Mildred Hayes (McDormand) is disgusted that the police haven't found her daughter's rapist and killer, so she takes out billboards asking why the chief of police, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) hasn't done anything about the case.

The billboards set off anger, violence, and revenge motifs in this small town. Things become worse when a pent-up police officer, Dixon (Sam Rockwell) becomes enraged and starts acting out.

Lots of swearing, lots of violence, and lots of laughs to be had in this film. It was strange to watch as I had just seen another film, Past Life, that focused on the subject of anger and pain, and how it can eat a person up and destroy them. This film is yet another good illustration of that, as Mildred stops at nothing to make a point.

The one-liners are amazing, and Mildred's speech to the priest who comes by to ask her to remove the billboards is hilarious. The movie is filled with strong performances and equally well-developed characters. We see all of their sides - violent, kind, vengeful, angry, sad; we finally realize they're just people driven in some cases to extremes.

Harrelson's performance is touching -- we're prepared to dislike him but his sincerity and humanity come through. As Dixon, Rockwell seems like a monster, but once he acts out, he's able to focus his energy a little better.

And then there's McDormand, a powerhouse. She's not good ol' Marge in Fargo. She's a tough woman with a broken heart who takes out her anger any way she can. It's a beautiful, multilayered performance. Highly recommended, asking the questions of where revenge and hatred can take us, and deciding when and if it stops.
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Is this a masterpiece?
MongoLloyd28 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Pretty cool cast, and interesting premise muddied by oddities, implausibilities, and a juvenile sense of story. Is this a film set in a world where crazy stuff happens as a matter of course, or a normal every day world where crazy stuff happens every now and then? In this film, I see pretty normal people doing normal things and having normal things happen to them, so why is it the writer/director chose to litter what could have been a very good film with SO much bizarro bs? And with literally ZERO character development?

Three giant billboards THAT close to the road and THAT close together - I've driven all over the country and never saw that. Billboards in rural areas tend to be smaller and definitely not that close together for obvious reasons.

WHO is this woman, Mildred? We know literally nothing about her beside the fact that her daughter was murdered. Eventually we find out she's divorced and has a son who lives with her, but if one is to care about the protagonist, character development is crucial. As it is, it's interesting to watch her do and say crazy stuff, but I couldn't care less about her.

WHY is it, two male characters directly related to the protagonist have a girlfriend & wife 20+ years their junior? Do they live in a part of the country where such a thing is commonplace? What are the odds of that? Probably about the same as if your dentist won the lottery but then your mailman did also. Yes, possible, but very, very odd and distracting.

Why does Willoughby's wife have an English accent? Was he in the military and met her while overseas? Is it common for a small town in Missouri to have British accented residents? If there was ANY character development, maybe we'd know these things. As it is, it's distracting and elicits questions that shouldn't have to be asked.

$5000/month for three previously forgotten about, decrepit billboards on a road people don't use anymore? LOL. For someone who is supposed to be a savvy, tough, non-nonsense older lady with the wisdom of the Buddha, that's pretty dumb.

A cop smashes office windows, assaults a man and throws him out a 2nd story window with no jail time. Really?!

Why does Willoughby have fatal cancer? Seems as no more than a cheap device used to heap more disdain on Mildred. Yawn.

Dixon ends up in the same hospital room as the man he assaulted? Is that supposed to be ironic? And again, what are the odds?

Mildred firebombs the police station, nearly kills a cop, and then just says "I didn't do it" and that's the end of it?! Really?

Some creepy stranger visits Mildred in her store and harasses her, THEN is overheard in a bar talking about committing a crime, maybe the crime in question, but alas even after Dixon cleverly retrieves dna from the guy, it turns out he's not even a local, and wasn't around when the crime occurred. Why then does the creepy guy know so much about the crime in question and WHY is he harassing Mildred!?!?!?! WHY?

Then to top off ALL that nonsense, Dixon and Mildred decide to go murder the creepy guy anyway, LOL, how profound.
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Beware the p(l)ot holes near the billboards
chicagopoetry25 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I will say that I enjoyed this film, mostly due to Frances McDormand's performance. It was surprisingly funny given its subject matter. But after thinking about it for a few days after watching it, I have to say a few words about the writing, because it seems everyone is raving about how "Oscar worthy" the writing here is, and at first glance, I thought so too. But thinking back on it, I'd have to say the writing is actually pretty sloppy. There's a lot of stuff here that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and I mean a lot. I can't explain this without revealing spoilers, so be warned.

--Most strikingly the (deputy?) Chief Dixon violently attacks Welby, busts his face with his gun, throws him out of a window and proceeds to kick him while he's down, all in eyes view of the new Chief Abercrombie. Sure, he gets fired. But not arrested? Not even sued?

--And as for Abercrombie. He shows up the morning after the previous Police Chief died and declares that "they" sent him as a replacement. They who? Is there some force outside of Ebbing that dictates who their police chief is? That part really didn't make any sense to me. Also, replacing one of the main characters halfway through the film, a character we're starting to get to know, with a stereotype that we don't know anything about, was rather odd.

--Someone lights the billboards on fire. But apparently only the paper on them burns, not the old wood that's been sitting there decaying since the 80s, because they are able to paste duplicate posters to the existing structures without any problems. That's laughable. That old wood would have been a pile of smoldering cinder.

--Mildred is portrayed as such a tough-ass, assaulting a dentist, kicking children in the crotch (with no repercussions I might add), storming into the police station spouting vulgarities, but when she's confronted by a guy who suggests he's actually the one who killed her daughter, she freezes and seems helpless. One might say the fact that she didn't go psycho in this scene is what makes this screenplay original but someone else, like me, might argue that it's just out of her character and doesn't make a lick of sense.

--Chief Willoughby for some reason is an old geezer but has a young, attractive Australian wife. He also has two young girls. Yet he's completely vulgar around them. While instructing them about a game of fishing he invents, he calls the blanket they are sitting on the "god-dam blanked"--twice--to little four or five year old girls. He says to his wife later that it's her turn to "clean the horse *hit" out of the barn. OK, I actually have quite a bit of experience tending horses. It's not called "*hit" it's called manure and you wouldn't even call it that--you'd just say "clean the barn" if you really owned horses. The writing of his character, other than the scene between him and McDormand while they were sitting on the swings, was actually horrible.

--Mildred burns the police station down, throwing 5 Molotov cocktails out of the still broken windows of the advertising agency across the street (not boarded up by then?). And the new Chief just accepts the explanation that she didn't do it because she was with James. No more investigation. Ho hum. Police station burned but oh well. And then a few scenes later, Dixon is apparently in the suppose to be burned down police station sitting there having a conversation with the new Chief.

--Dixon is a complete jerk to the bone. He gets a letter postmortem from the now deceased Chief. Suddenly he's a good guy. Yeah right.

I could go on and on with this but I'm afraid my word limit here is going to expire soon. I'll still give this film a 7 star rating because I DID enjoy watching it, but the writing here is really not all it's cracked up to be. It does feel like it's a big novel with a lot of twists, but in retrospect it's more like a parody of a big novel with a lot of twists, and the twists don't make a whole lot of sense.
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Seriously overpraised
jbarrow-270143 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The actors are superb, but the script fails in several ways. My immediate reaction, seeing the opening shots, was that this was not Missouri. I guessed it to be the southern Appalachians (where I have spent a lot of time), and so it was. The characters did not behave or speak the way real Southerners speak or behave. Martin McDonagh has written his fantasy of what he thinks Southerners are like. He got it wrong. He works in film sort of the way D. Trump works in politics--he shocks, he amuses, he appeals to our base instincts. But he doesn't tell a coherent story.

The central characters are not sympathetic, and indeed they are borderline sociopaths, including Frances McDormand's character. Sam Rockwell's ludicrous cop character would not be tolerated, even in small-town South. Viewers are left to wonder why Woody Harrelson's wife is a much younger luscious babe with a foreign accent. (Also a real Southern man, even a lout like Harrelson's character, would not use foul language in front of his two small daughters.) The period was not clear; observing the cars in the film it seemed to be the 1980s or 90s. Yet there were no computers seen in the police headquarters of the advertising company office. Yet near the end McDormand uses her cell phone. Other reviewers have noted the recurrent racism of the screenplay.

I kept wanting to get up and walk out, but stayed for a simple reason. As with any whodunnit, I wanted to find out who did it. Guess what? McDonagh never lets his audience know who did it. As author he must know, yet he keeps this information to himself.
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The best way to express your grief is by committing multiple felonies.
ramfat16 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
First, let's all just accept the premise that police beat up random black people for no reason whatsoever. Also, police are inept, because they can't find someone to arrest for the murder and rape of your daughter, even though there is zero forensic evidence. Next let's take a moment to reflect on the time you told your daughter "I hope you get raped on the way too". Now it's time to start lashing out at the world because you are angry. Start by committing 2 felonies against a dentist. It's also a good idea to go into a police station and tell them what horrible people they are. When your signs get set on fire, climb onto one of the burning signs and stand at the top of the flames. Next, fire-bomb a police station, because you are still mad, even though there is still no evidence or suspects. Finally, if you can't find the actual person who committed the crime, instead go murder a complete stranger on a hunch. This is all very profound and heart-wrenching...can't you tell by the music?

The police chief isn't so bad though, because he has cancer and is spitting up blood. He thinks it's best to leave the hospital, because what do doctors know about dealing with cancer. He doesn't want his wife and kid's final memories of him to be slowly dying in a hospital, so instead their final memories will be of him blowing his own brains out in the barn.

Thankfully, a streetwise black police chief came in to take over for the inept and racist white police officers. Now things will finally get done.
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Far from a great movie
dirty_chords12 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I can understand how one can adore this film. Of course it had some very interesting ideas and tried to make certain points, but in the end it was a tonally indecisive mess. Here are some of my main reservations:

- The script is overexplanatory and relies too much on coincidence, while it plays down the consequences the main characters would have in real life, when acting nuts. I dare you to go burn a police station down, remain at the scene (regardless of the fact that you are virtually the only suspect) and tell me what happens afterwards. Yes, I know McDonagh would have argued that we shouldn't take the movie at face value, but there are too many -and too important- plot holes to forgive (and this is not a buddy cop comedy for god's sake).

- In a cringeworthy flashback scene, we see the mother and daughter quarrel about Angela going out, only for them to prove their precognitive skills (Angela said she hoped she would get raped on the way, and Mildred agreed with her). Well, I'm positive there were more subtle ways to show why Mildred is filled with remorse.

- I thought Rockwell's character to be too cartoonish at times. McDonagh said that they had to cut a lot of material because there were tons of moments with Rockwell's character that were too comedic, but there are still many way over the top moments left in the movie.

- Willoughby is portrayed as a genuinely decent guy. Honestly, I don't get how can a Sheriff let his racist officers deal with black people the way they did and still qualify as a good person. Supposing he was an ignorant, illiterate redneck, I would be much more willing to excuse this kind of behaviour.
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Extremely funny film about grief, anger, revenge and violence
rubenm16 October 2017
It seemed that the pregnant police detective Marge Gunderson from 'Fargo' would forever be the most memorable character of Frances McDormand's acting career. But now I'm not so sure. Mildred Hayes, the heroine from 'Three Billboards', is a serious contender. This might well be her best performance ever.

The part of Mildred Hayes was written with McDormand in mind. Hayes is a divorced single mother, living with her son on the outskirts of a small, remote town. She had a daughter too, but the girl was raped and killed on a quiet mountain road not far from home. Frustrated by the lack of progress of the investigation, Hayes decides to rent three dilapidated billboards, publicly accusing the local police chief of incompetence. By doing so, she attracts the attention of the media, angers almost the entire town and causes a succession of increasingly violent actions.

Although the film is about grief, anger, revenge and violence, it is extremely funny. Above all because of Mildred Hayes' stubborn character and her ability to verbally humiliate people by her extremely sharp tongue. The monologue she delivers when a priest visits her house to tell her she has gone too far, is priceless.

Apart from McDormand's performance, the screenplay is another great feature of this film. The story is full of unexpected twists, gradually shifting the positions of the main characters towards each other. None of the characters are one-dimensional: they all reveal surprising parts of their personalities as the story moves forward.

And then there is the overall, almost Coen-esque atmosphere of a small town full of colourful characters. There is a racist cop, a friendly midget, a smart advertising guy and a pretty girl who is so dumb she doesn't know the difference between polo and polio.

It is hard to mention something negative about this film. 'Three Billboards' is, from start to finish, a great movie. I can't imagine anyone not enjoying it.
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Completly unrealistic storyplots, extremly overrated
lukasvw-80-31515610 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Seriously, any critic that says this movie is somewhat good, should chance his job.

Is the acting great? Yes Is the story-idea great? Yes Is the execution great? No way.

It almost never happens that i yell at a screen in anger because a storyplot is so unrealistic that it hurts. But here it happend. The scene where Officer Dick throws out the advertising guy of the window and then just sits within his station, nobody arresting him, not even the new Chief that clearly saw it and fires him would arrest him - well, this is just not even in the united states of police brutality realistic and just ruins the whole movie for me.

From there on, the movie was just a pain. And im almost never not on the line of critics...dont understand it.
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"Hello, I'm an artsy dark comedy"
bmart15712 January 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is so obviously trying to be edgy & artsy, it might as well have had someone walking out with a sign at key moments- "laugh here" "gasp here" "tear up here". I love the actors, the characters were super colorful & the movie wasn't boring. Other than that, it felt like someone took a template of a dark comedy & then just left out the realism.

Going out on a limb here but I'd say people don't normally use the F word & C word that often.

Policemen don't act like that ...and still have a job.

Assault, arson or attempted murder are causes for arrest (even for cops)

People don't let their friends do jail time for the sake of leaving signs in the street (that was a friend, right?)

That 19 year old girl would not be attracted to the ex

Making fun dating a little person might have been funny 20 years ago (and then his enlightening 'look in the mirror' speech as he left the table was ... meh)

Also, that was quite a 180 for the vicious, racist cop who throws people out of windows. Too many unrealistic situations & reactions.

And why did that random suspect guy come into the shop in the first place? Did he rape someone in Irag?

And throw a turtle in there while you're at it.

Sorry, love the premise, love the actors but sometimes I think critics just have a checklist they go by.
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Confused film, nothing special
MarkAnder_22 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The good: performances by Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Rockwell, and Lucas Hedges (despite not having much screen time.) There were some moments that were pretty cool and did some new things, but overall this film isn't worth much.

It is basically a string of mean people going along and doing mean things, to no end. Nobody learns anything, the little growth that does occur is quite forced, and a lot of it doesn't seem very grounded in reality.

The tone is confused, bouncing back and forth between Nickelodeon comedy and a dark drama, making it hard to take seriously. Woody Harrelson seemed to care so little about his voice-over work in the middle of the film, but that's understandable when the writers didn't seem to care much either.

The editing wasn't great and offered unclear communication at times. I don't know who picked Abbie Cornish for this, or anything, as she is an exceptionally poor actress.

I think we're supposed to be emphasizing with the main character, but that's hard to do when she's a callous wrecking ball. Making a film about a parent dealing with trauma of this nature is a great premise, but there's a certain humanity lacking.

I disconnected with this film when she didn't take the billboards down the moment her friend got arrested. I assumed it was a given- how could you let your friend rot away in jail while this futile ploy of yours is the single cause? And how was the friend OK with that upon being released? This is not a strong person, this is a petty and immature person who is seeking solace purely for selfish reasons. It is also completely overlooked that she is harming her still-alive son throughout the course of all this.

Finally, we have one scene with Mildred's daughter, who is the cause of all events that take place in the film. Not only was the actress incapable of carrying this scene, but it was also hard to believe she was the daughter of Mildred.

Overall, an unaware film that seemed to try to be catering to the current political climate.
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Tense and unpredictable in every way.
JoshuaMooreBE15 February 2018
This movie I went into almost blind, but I came out of the theater with it probably being my favorite film in the last year. This film is so smart at being able to keep you at the edge of your seat from simple things that they plug into the film. Heartbreaking and tense situations in the first half of the film come back in some shape or form that leave you questioning what is going to happen. There was genuinely no predicting what the characters were going to do and how they would react to certain events. This unpredictability doesn't just apply to situations, but possibly more notable in character arcs. Without giving to much away, there is a character in this film that does everything possible for you to hate them in the first half, and by the end of the film you are rooting for said character. There's times where the characters that you cared for are becoming real and dis-likable in certain scenes, but to the point of more so being genuinely worried about how their choices will affect them.

Every actor in this film did so tremendous as well. I really can't think of an actor or actress that outshines the rest. But if I had to pick favorites, Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell were just that. But a lot of that just has to go into the writing of the characters themselves. The cinematography in this film allows the actors to take advantage of facial expression. There's a scene relatively early in the film that is mostly sitting and staring but the actors have such convincing movements and gestures, it goes to a point where you don't need dialogue to tell what they are feeling and what they are thinking about.

Really the only issue I have in this film is some scenes felt a little unnecessary. Can't give away too much without spoiling, but in a film where every character goes through in arc, there's one character that is just there to break tension and crack personally unfunny jokes. But this character did not affect my score and they were barely in the film.

I highly recommend checking this out.
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Overrated all around
BuckminsterFievre2 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I really wanted to like this film. But it has plot holes you could fly a 747 through. The characters do completely nonsensical things. And for the love of God, if you're going to make a place a character in your movie, at least actually film it in that state. Like maybe ... I don't know ... In Bruges?
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Cinema about hope and search for justice
BiiivAL5 June 2018
The drama of Martin McDon, known primarily for his ability to violate the foundations of modern drama, can easily be considered one of the best in the outgoing year.

In the center of the picture is the mother of the deceased girl, seeking justice and justice in a rather cynical manner and the unquenchable hope for which is the meaning of life, along with a single son and a worn blue overall.

"Where is the cliche?" - I thought, and already on the 10th minute of the movie I stopped speculating about the development of events and trying to predict the replicas and actions of the characters. This unpredictable plot was not in my memory for a long time, considering that all the events taking place for nearly two hours (and there were an unlimited number of them) surprise with their surprise and sometimes absurdity.

The non-linear structure of the film makes the viewer systematically ask the question, "What will be the end?", But "What will happen tomorrow?". The same question is asked to themselves and all the characters: the divorced mother Mildred, who is already desperate to find justice, ultimately lives by today and actually loses the intelligible for herself and for the surrounding purpose, humiliating the policeman and accusing them of racism, sexism and other " ". Sheriff Willoughby, who learned that he has cancer, does not know what will happen to his reputation after his death. The sheriff's widow does not know what will happen to her daughters. The assistant to the sheriff Dixon sits up his pants and reads comics, having no motivation, no prospects, nothing.

The appearance of three billboards in Ebbinge literally leads this small town into a rage. The hunt for Mildred is accompanied by violence on the screen, both from her side and from her ill-wishers (scenes in the dentist's office, as well as in the advertising firm). Even the church involved in the scandal gets gets on the forehead of Martin McDonagh, who calls her "a criminal group" and "lovers of little boys, and in general, boys." The whole town shows all the dirt, like a fish, rotten from head to tail, stinks of hypocrisy.

Thus, the unyielding willpower of the heroine Francis McDormand and her motivation, which at some point is questioned, makes the actress, perhaps, the main nominee for the Academy Award. And the abundance of all sorts of characters (including the hero of Sam Rockwell), well-designed, but sometimes fantastic scenario and satire on acute social problems (racism, sexual harassment, police lawlessness, etc.) make the Three Billboard reflect modern disgusting reality and valuable ( if not the most expensive) coin along with Bruges and the Seven Psychopaths in the treasury of the talented Martin McDonagh.

Bravo, McDonagh!
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Overrated quirk-fest from playwright turned screenwriter, seeks redemption for vigilantes
Turfseer2 December 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Combine the quirky characters of the master of quirk, Wes Anderson, and sensibility of adolescent wish fulfillment fantasy director Quentin Tarantino, and what do you end up with? The year's most overrated "black comedy," Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It's the work of playwright by trade, Martin McDonagh, who's been quoted as saying that he prefers writing for film over theater (why couldn't he stick with the stage if that's his primary area of expertise?).

McDonagh's strategy is to appeal to both liberals and conservatives but in the end he remains squarely in the liberal camp. He serves up absurd characters that appeal to the baser elements in our culture but infuses them with "hearts of gold" so they appear to straddle both liberal and reactionary fences, but actually exist in none.

Take for example his main character, Mildred Hayes (played by a haggard-looking, one-note Frances McDormand) who puts up the three billboards outside of town, frustrated by Sheriff Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and his small town police department's inability to catch the man who murdered her daughter seven months earlier. The foul-mouthed Hayes functions outside the law and McDonagh throws a bone to reactionaries, asking us to approve of Hayes' desire for revenge and endorsement of vigilantism.

McDonagh's other rebel is Officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a racist who tries to top Hayes in her quest to be the top-rated anti-social misfit in town. First he arrests Hayes' co- worker pal Denise on trumped up marijuana possession charges and after he learns of Sheriff Willoughby's suicide following the revelation of a cancer diagnosis, he goes after Red (the man responsible for renting the billboards to Hayes) and throws him out a second floor window (instead of arresting him, the new black police chief merely fires him! What's up with that?).

Just like Hayes, Dixon finds a scapegoat to assuage his guilt over Sheriff's Willoughby's death. When Hayes finds her billboards ablaze, she naturally pins the blame on Dixon and firebombs police headquarters.

It's at this point that McDonagh rather simplistically attempts to redeem his protagonists. The saintly, all- knowing Willoughby, in a letter he leaves for Dixon after his death, reassures the errant former officer that he's not such a bad guy after all, provided that he gives up his bigoted ways.

After Dixon survives the firebombing at the police station where he went to read Willoughby's letter, he decides to help Hayes after overhearing a potential suspect who might have killed her daughter. During a fight with the suspect in the bar, he manages to obtain the man's DNA. In an original plot twist, the DNA does not match and the potential murderer is ruled out as a suspect in Hayes' daughter's death.

With Hayes apologizing to Dixon for the firebombing of the police station (she escapes being charged aided by an alibi from a dwarf who lives in town), the two vigilantes make their way to Idaho to seek revenge on the now ruled out suspect in Hayes' daughter's death, as they are convinced he's guilty of other crimes of rape, and deserves punishment.

McDonagh, however, is uneasy with the idea that Hayes and Dixon would actually go through with their extra-judicial act-so he throws in a caveat. As they're talking to one another in the car, it's probably the unheard voice of the goodly Sheriff Willoughby which is still in the air. Hayes and Dixon express doubts about actually going through with the plan-the implication of course is that they will not engage in another act of violence-that they in fact have "learned their lesson," and now are ready to act as law-abiding citizens.

It might be reassuring to a liberal audience that the bad guys suddenly become "good"-that there is a measure of redemption for the two who have become unhinged by the deaths of people close to them. In reality, vigilantes remain vigilantes, and such reversals in outlook are highly unlikely. But even if one accepts the improbable Deus ex machina, McDonagh's willingness to excuse all the prior bad conduct, suggests a crack in the screenwriter's moral compass.

Ultimately, McDonagh wants his quirk-fest both ways. He revels in the bad acts of vigilantism, appealing to the aforementioned "baser instincts"; but offers up redemption for his bad actors, in the form of a martyred lawman, who like a saint from above, offers words of wisdom for the ages.
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'All this anger, man, it just begets greater anger.'
gradyharp2 March 2018
Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) wrote and directed this very tough but brilliant story about anger, revenge, agony, prejudice - and redemption. Every character in this dramatic tour de force is drawn with equal parts hate and anger - with a dollop of hope and forgiveness and reconciliation in the end. It is a phenomenal achievement.

The language is saturated with foul/vulgar/trash type language but it fits the area and the particular character in this darkly comic drama. After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter's murder case, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), the town's revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother's boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing's law enforcement is only exacerbated. Mildred's son (Lucas Hedges) is seemingly the only stable character despite his absentee father (John Hawkes) and 19-year-old girlfriend (Samara Weaving) antics and his mother's foul pained mood. The pinnacle of angry young men is policeman Dixon (Sam Rockwell in a brilliant performance) whose movements include severely harming the sign maker (Caleb Landry Jones) as well as violating all manner of laws. Peter Dinklage portrays James, the 'town midget' whose role is also key to the denouement of the action.

Rape, murder, arson and many other forms of violence fill the screen but McDonagh makes it all make sense. McDormand, Rockwell, and Harelson are astonishingly but then there isn't a weak member in this extraordinary cast. This is one of the best films of the year, despite the subject matter at the core of it.
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great acting!
novagirl1119 February 2018
Slow but not boring. dark, intense and complex and not predictable. incredible cast but still felt realistic. powerful and engrossing but not a feel good film
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Wow...I mean...just wow
biswas-arnab15 September 2017
What a movie and what great acting. Frances McDormand has done amazing job and deserves awards for playing Mildred Hayes. Although a very serious subject, this movie is a comedy.

The punch lines are to the point and absolutely hilarious. I went to the Toronto International Film Festival to watch this movie and boy, do I consider myself lucky to have decided to watch it.

The story, screenplay, direction are amazing. After The Grand Budapest Hotel, this movie comes as a breath of fresh air.
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I dissent. Regretfully.
t_k_matthews7 December 2017
I wanted this movie to be great. It wasn't. The performance by Frances McDormand is good but not great. She's very good at showing overwhelming anger, but that's all she's allowed. Her character never gets the chance to breathe. Blame the script, not her--she's a terrific actor, but this is a one-note performance.

2. There is a sub-theme about race. Race is an important issue and deserves to be treated honestly, but in this movie, it felt like a side-road that led nowhere. (It actually feels like moral preening on the part of the scriptwriter. It didn't add much to the movie's meaning.

3. Wonderful performances by Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell as a police chief and officer. Woody especially brought grace to a character who at first seemed unsympathetic. (BTW, McDormand's ex-husband has a young and beautiful girlfriend, and that relationship is treated as awkward and shameful. Harrelson's wife is young and beautiful, and that relationship is treated as idyllic.)

4. Police officers don't talk like that among themselves or to others.

5. I particularly didn't like the Chief's take on racist cops, saying essentially that all cops are racist. That may be accepted as dogma by some Hollywood screenwriters, but any chief who talks about his beloved employees--or cops in general--like that shouldn't be a cop. Coming from this character, the sentiment is cheap and clunky and inexplicable.

6. There are a couple of plot holes wide enough to drive a billboard through sideways. The most egregious (no spoiler here) is what happens (actually what should have happened but didn't) immediately following the window scene. (You'll know the scene when you see it.) The thing not happening was necessary keep the plot going. Everything that happened after that feels tainted as artificial and contrived. Likewise a later scene in a bar, involving a coincidence beyond coincidence.

7. It's impossible McDormand's character wouldn't have been arrested several times in the course of the movie, for several serious crimes. Once again, he plot depends on that not happening, and thus the plot again is contrived.

8. There's a letter delivered to Rockwell's character late in the movie which is full of Hallmark Card sentimental drivel. It can't be justified by either what we know of that character or what we know of the writer.

In a world (as the movie trailers used to say) where we are awash in numbskull comic book movies and incoherent special effects spectacles, it was a small miracle this film even came to my local cinema. Too bad I couldn't love it.
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bitterness and hate rolled into one
cdcrb10 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
it's unfortunate to use the word comedy, dark or otherwise, with regard to this film. unpleasant would be a better adjective. if you've seen the trailer you know what the billboards are about. if not, you'll know when you see the movie. revenge and guilt are being served up cold. deep down, apparently, every one has a heart of gold. racists, wife beaters. whatever. I did not buy it. others have.
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How is this movie receiving critical acclaim?
decarloj12 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
I've never had such an unpleasant feeling watching a movie before. The characters are awful people, sociopaths even. Frances McDormands character at first comes across as just being a broken woman, but a flashback scene shows that her character was never a pleasant person. Her ex-husband likes to poke fun at the towns little person like he's still in junior high. Sam Rockwells character is the worst. He tortures a black kid, punches a young lady in the face, throws a city clerk out a two-story window for no reason at all. But yet, the writers thought that his character needed a redemption angle. Are you freakin kidding me?? His character belonged behind bars.

Aside from this, the script was just awful. People talking in ways that people just don't talk. Things thrown in there that didn't make sense. Why was this military veteran from Idaho, who had nothing to do with the girls murder, and who's never been to Ebbing before, just show up and start harassing a dead girls mother? Also, the characters in this movie do things that would ordinarily land a person in county jail, or even prison. But, they go completely unscathed.

But, lets not ignore the biggest goof of all, the wife of Woody Harrelsons character suddenly out of nowhere develops a British accent.

The producers must have spent some good money on fake reviews, because I can't see how so many film critics can find this movie to be great.
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