McDonagh’s wonderful cast also comprises of Woody Harrelson, who is a man facing a rather sudden to end to an extremely happy life. And I would be lying if I did not say Sam Rockwell had an Oscar winning performance, as a the racist, drunk, man child who wants to be good but constantly says or does the wrong thing. A despicable man at face value but once he digs deep his humanity is shown and despite some deep flaws, he may not be all bad. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a fascinating, deeply layered drama crossing the lives of many just trying to make it through their own problems. They can either fall apart in the process, or use each other to move on.
Mildred Hayes is a flawed but powerful protagonist. Building a wall of both anger, and hate only to let it all collapse in one swooping motion. Only Frances McDormand could fill the ginormous lead role in this darkly comedic film about revenge, and the how the tragedy and anger in ones life effects everyone else in he small town. Many of the characters we are introduced to have baggage it seems they will never let go of; director and writer does not let anyone get off easy, and everyone in Mildred’s life is impacted in some type of way.
Seven months before we are introduced to the small town of Ebbing, Missouri Mildred Hayes’ daughter was raped and murdered. When we meet Mildred, her life has fallen apart, her relationship with her son is broken, a divorced marriage, friendships lost, and she is filled with anger. After so long she decides to go buy three billboards in her town taking matters into her own hands. The three billboards questioning why it had been nearly year, and no arrests were made. We really begin to learn of the films deeper emotions once the town learns that the police chief, who Mildred had called out has cancer and is dying. Causing her to ultimately be faced with deciding whether or not she should continue the controversy, or let him off because he is dying. Mildred is faced, like many others, with the regrets of what she had said before her daughters death and the look on her face while showing that tragedy reveals all of her pains.