Sunday, April 7, 2019

1065. Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri
Directed by Martin McDonagh

I needed some post Strindberg therapy, as the 1001 Books Listmakers have decided it is essential for me to read books about how useless women are. I also made the unfortunate decision to binge on James Bond movies, which have just become available on Netflix. All this to say that I am ready to fuck some shit up (pardon the expression), so this movie is perfect for me.

Mildred Hayes rents three billboards from Red Welby on a rarely used road outside Ebbing, Missouri. It's a cool moment when you see what the billboards say for the first time, so I won't spoil it for you, but suffice to say that she is attempting to call attention to an unsolved crime. She calls out the Chief of Police Bill Willoughby on the billboard, which angers one of his officers, Jason Dixon (ayyy). Dixon is a racist alcoholic mama's boy, but even so, the town's citizens, including Mildred's son and ex husband, mostly agree with him that the signs should be removed.

What a wonderful, odd movie; I suspect it is the illegitimate offspring of Ethan or Joel Cohen. There are a few rural town stereotypes gleefully included, but McDonagh is just as willing to turn those stereotypes on their heads, and he does so with the perfect mixture of humanity and humor.  I was actually most struck with Sam Rockwell's performance when he was acting drunk. It seems like a simple skill for an actor to master, but I feel like a lot of times, they overdo it, or confuse alcohol's effects with those of mushrooms. Other actors (ahem Al Pacino ahem) would not have pulled off such an interesting character with that much subtlety.

Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and my man, Peter Dinklage all deserve shout outs too. I feel like there was nothing heavy handed in the movie. The world is a sucky place at the beginning of the movie, and it's a sucky place at the end, but it still made me feel optimistic. How can that be?

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

The font on the billboards is called Impact.

Frances McDormand originally didn't want the role, because she didn't think someone from her character's socioeconomic background would wait to have kids until she was 38. Her husband told her to shut up and do it.


  1. Loved the movie and love your review! I will watch anything with Frances McDormand in it --she is always good and never disappoints.

  2. The second best new movie I watched in 2017 (The best was Get Out). You are right, their lives suck in the beginning and it suck in the end, yet it makes you feel good.

  3. This felt like it was based on a true story and somehow didn't sit comfortably with me when I discovered that it wasn't. The problem probably lies with me and my expectations more than the film.

    Not to say that it wasn't well made, great performances etc