Everyone, and we mean everyone, is talking about Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and not just because of its seven nominations and two Oscars either. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri actress Frances McDormand and actor Sam Rockwell each snagged an Oscar for their performance in the flick. Martin McDonagh is the co-producer, writer and directer we have to thank for this genius piece of work. If the title wasn’t a dead giveaway, the film follows the story of three billboards that were put up in Ebbing, Missouri.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand plays the role of Mildred, whose teenage daughter was murdered and raped. After months of dead ends and little leads, Mildred (McDormand) becomes frustrated. Therefore the opening of the movie shows decrepit billboards down an old country road. That’s when she takes action and pays for the three billboards to say, “Raped while dying” then “and still no arrests?” and finally, “How come, Chief Willoughby?” The bold message of the billboards gains tons of attention in the small Missouri town.
The movie doesn’t make Mildred a hero through her provocative billboards and what follows but rather, takes us down some gray areas. This small town is filled with racism, violence, and homophobia. Even when dark moments present themselves in the film, we don’t see them for long. Actually the violent, hateful and incompetent cop Jason Dixon (Rockwell) offers the film its most hysterical character. Somehow the back and forth of emotional to humorous just works.
No one can even question how Sam Rockwell snagged an Oscar for his performance as Jason Dixon. When he was on-screen, the audience prepared themselves for a good laugh, even in the darkest moments. He wasn’t the funniest character either. Even grieving Mildred packed sass when needed. With her witty remarks, each dark situation was a bit easier to grasp. McDormand used John Wayne as the inspiration for her character Mildred as she walked into battle, ready for action at any moment. Although we did see tender sides in her character too. Lastly, Woody Harrelson as Chief Willoughby, inspired Dixon for the better, and that was a sight to see.
Three Billboards Outside Edding, Missouri Controversy
The film did experience some controversy, because what award winning film doesn’t? Peter Dinklage and Sam Rockwell’s characters both received serious backlash. Dinklage saw his character berated quite often as a ‘midget’ and people thought his dwarfism was utilized for a punchline too much. On the other hand, Sam Rockwell’s character, who is a violent, racist cop, was much too easily redeemed.
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the director Martin McDonagh refutes the claims of both characters. He said, “It mostly comes from the idea of Sam Rockwell’s character, who’s a racist, bigoted asshole, that his character is seemingly being redeemed, maybe. I don’t think his character is redeemed at all – he starts off as a racist jerk. He’s the same pretty much at the end, but, by the end, he’s seen that he has to change. There is room for it, and he has, to a degree, seen the error of his ways, but in no way is he supposed to become some sort of redeemed hero of the piece.”