Date night on Friday night! We had planned to watch I, Tonya starting Margot Robbie at 6:45 pm in Princeton, but by the time we had dropped off all the children, we were too late to make it to the theater in time. Quickly researching alternative options while driving, we decided to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) at Montgomery Cinemas in Skillman, NJ instead.
Made it in plenty of time.
The film stars Frances McDormand (you know, the film Fargo), Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell. It was written and directed by Martin McDonagh and takes place in present-day Ebbing, Missouri. McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother. It’s been seven months since the body of her teenage daughter Angela was found. Raped and murdered in a small Missouri town, with no leads and the investigation has gone cold. Angry over the lack of progress in the investigation, she rents three abandoned billboards near her home, which read, in sequence, “Raped While Dying“, “And Still No Arrests?“, and “How Come, Chief Willoughby?”
The townspeople are pretty upset by these billboards, but Mildred only wants results. The local police are even more upset, especially Officer Jason Dixon (Rockwell), a racist, alcoholic, and lots of anger management issues. The film’s plot turns around as these three key personalities butt heads, the townspeople caught in the middle, and Willoughby’s fatal medical condition.
The film was interesting, because McDormand, Harrelson, and Rockwell all bring a lot of life to their characters. Mildred herself starts as a sympathetic character, but she turns into a harsh one as the plot progresses. The final stages where Willoughby and Dixon end up by the end of the film are not where you would expect them to be. Not a perfect film, but an interesting one.