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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

As the credits rolled on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and one guy in the second row started to clap, I was glad that I had spent the last two hours of my life with it, and decided that coming to see it alone on a school night was definitely worth it.

Frances McDormand delivers a powerful performance as a mother in southern Missouri trying to get justice for her daughter’s murder by putting up three controversial billboards near her home, criticizing the town’s beloved police chief. When other townsfolk and policemen get involved, the situation escalates in unpredictable ways.

Three Billboards was filled with sharp, witty dialogue, intense action, and heart-wrenching moments. I found myself constantly changing my mind on which characters I was rooting for, which was a good display of the complex nature of good and bad, or maybe of my indecisiveness. I can’t decide.  It was maybe one of the funniest movies I’ve seen recently, most likely the darkest, and definitely the one with the most descriptive title.

It was far from a perfect movie though. The film dealt with many difficult topics such as police brutality and institutionalized racism, but does not really seem to convey anything of significance about them. The director, Martin McDonagh, had no reservations with actors using all manner of slurs and clearly had a lot to say about the culture of some small towns in the south, but that was not the point of his movie, and just left me somewhat confused about what exactly the message was.

Three Billboards was nominated for 7 Oscar awards, including best picture and best original screenplay, but is not expected to win due to controversy around its racial message. I think many of the actors did fantastic jobs and deserve wins, but the screenplay left something to be desired. Despite its shortcomings, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good laugh, a good cry, or ideally a little bit of both.

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