Seven months after the brutal rape and murder of her daughter, Ebbing resident, Mildred (Frances McDormand) is still waiting for justice to be done. With the local police department ignoring her pleas, she decides to put up three large billboards on the road into the town plunging the whole area into chaos.
The primary focus of Mildred’s anger is Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) a man who is caught between his desire to take care of the lost souls of Ebbing and his own impending mortality.
Sometimes the best kind of film is one where you cannot predict what is going to happen next and Three Billboards is completely fits that brief. Although Mildred’s story is perfectly plausible the characters that inhabit Ebbing are so interesting that you just don’t know what is going to happen. I was glued to the screen throughout, varying between being heartbroken and actually laughing out loud.
Frances McDormand has always been a force to be reckoned with but this role was made for her. Mildred is such a complex character. Her ire at the Ebbing Police Department is very much a distraction from the terrible guilt she feels about what happened to her daughter. Acting out in various crazy ways gives her an outlet for her grief and allows her to keep her tough image intact. As you get to know Mildred, you understand more and more why she is so aggressive and hard, she is not one-sided though and there is a lot of love under her rage. The question is how long she can keep going without ultimately facing her demons.
Harrelson is also excellent playing the Chief who is a good man with a heart so big that it makes him a terrible judge of character. This is evident in his insistence in keeping Dixon (Sam Rockwell) on the force despite his open racism and violent outbursts. Rockwell is both hilarious and menacing and despite his mad behaviour comes across as a real person.
At it’s heart Three Billboards is a study in how small towns function and how complex human relationships are. Every character is both fallible and redeemable and their interactions with each other are never black and white.
In summation, I loved it. It was brilliant. You should watch it,