With seven nominations in the upcoming Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri—yes it’s a mouthful—is finally out in Philippine Cinemas starting Valentine’s Day. It’s not actually a date movie, but it’s one that I highly recommend that you should see. Here’s why.
The film is a story about a mother, Mildred, played by Frances McDormand, who is seeking justice for her daughter’s rape and murder using, you guessed it right, three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. They wrote the messages: ‘RAPED WHILE DYING’, ‘AND STILL NO ARRESTS?’ and ‘HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?’ And so causes a stir within the small town. Pretty interesting and unique premise if I may say and what ensues is unexpectedly one of the most engaging stories ever told on film. +4
It seems like a really serious drama at first but the characters’ actions turn out otherwise, making you laugh frantically and sometimes uncomfortably in the weirdest situations and behaviours. So, it’s a dark comedy after all. Now, I’m even more engrossed in the film. +5
Sam Rockwell plays the racist, Officer Dixon, who’s such a douche that you would really love to hate but in the end you would actually root for. Why, you say? Watch and you will see. I am not surprised that his performance snagged him noms for Best Supporting Actor in the Oscars and BAFTA plus a win at the Globes. It is a portrayal that is so lived in that he might actually, finally get an Oscar. +5
Chief Willoughby, played by Woody Harrelson, has been a surprise nomination in the same category at the Oscars. Not that he did not do a great job but I feel that the role was not heavy or significant enough to snag one. Maybe it’s also 'cause of the curve ball that his character set which will really hit you at the gut. Nonetheless, he also did stellarly as the dying Police Chief. +2
The character sketches, plot points, conflicts, and character turns in this film’s screenplay all go against clichés. Like, when Mildred and Willoughby are having decent conversations in the middle of their very public conflict. Or, Mildred actually having such a flawed relationship with her daughter. But all these slices of life seem so real and true that when mixed together, they form a tapestry of ironies that will hit close to home for anyone watching the film. These all make this story that writer/director Martin McDonagh cooked up such a cinematic gem. +5
My favorite scene is the burning of the police station, which made me die of laughter but that’s just how this film rolls. It makes you laugh at the weirdest scenarios and cry when you least expect it. It is as heartwrenching as it is hilarious which is a rare feat in cinema. +5
This film is a testament that if you have a great story at hand, the simpler way of storytelling is still always the best. Without any special effects, big explosions—well, except for the arson scene—or the really big, usual cinematic scenes, this film is confident in its core to stand out and be remembered. +5
And lastly, Frances McDormand, who I am rooting for to take home the Oscar after winning at the Globes, gives the performance of her life. This, she does sans any trace of melodrama. She has no big crying scenes or moments of hysteria, which are often needed to be noticed by award-giving bodies (especially here, if you know what I mean). But her portrayal is a master class of subdued acting at its finest. +5
Wait, only 36 points total? I’d have to say more about the film but I don’t want to bore you. All I can I say is that I adore this film as I’ve already previously written about it as one of my top 5 international films of 2017. Though, I’m rooting for Dunkirk—'cause of Nolan—I actually wouldn’t mind if this takes home Best Picture. You owe it to yourself to catch this film. Black Panther will still be around in weeks, so please. WATCH. THIS. NOW.
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Photograps by Merrick Morton courtesy of AcuSoft Inc. and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation