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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Wanted to see this just before the 2018 Oscars so I rented it. I love this movie. Frances McDormand was excellent here, and I expected no less. The director, Martin McDonagh, wrote the part with McDormand in mind, so it was truly tailor-made for her. There are certain actors and actresses that you look back on and say "Well, that role was just perfect for him/her" or "the role fit them like a glove." Such is the case here. It's a perfect marriage. The story should now be known to most movie lovers, but for those who don't know, it's a simple set-up: A woman in a small Missouri town has waited a long time for the police to find her daughter's murderer. So, sick of waiting, she rents out three billboards asking the police, particularly the chief (Woody Harrelson), why nothing was been done. Given that, though the set-up may be simple, the fallout from these signs is anything but.

McDormand's grieving mother has moved beyond the crying stage and is angry and immovable, setting most of the town against her. That Harrelson's chief is very sick and garners the town's sympathy doesn't help her cause. There are some instances of people trying to bully her to get her to back down but she absolutely will not budge and if anything becomes more resolute. Another potential roadblock is the violent-tempered mama's boy of a deputy played wonderfully by Sam Rockwell, who butts heads with McDormand, with neither flinching. In fact, everyone in her life or town is affected in some way: the chief and his family, her teen son, her ex-husband and his very young love, the printer she hired for the billboards, her best friend and co-worker, etc. etc.

The main three acting honors of course start with McDormand, continue with Harrelson, and complete the circle with Rockwell, who are all nominated for Oscars and deservedly so. But the rest of the cast is fine: Caleb Landry Jones, Lucas Hedges, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Sandy Martin, Zeljko Ivanek, Abbie Cornish, Amanda Warren, Kathryn Newton...and so many more. An impeccable cast where every role adds to the overall scope of the movie and nothing is wasted. Director Martin McDonagh has done an amazing job with this film, going from bits of black humor to total darkness to sympathy to redemption to uncertainty---so many themes all rolled up into one solid satisfying whole. Great movie.