Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster - in a good way. The plot twists and turns, not in a Hollywood thriller way, but in a way that highlights the unpredictability of life. Character decisions are sometimes enigmatic and their motivations aren't necessarily crystal clear. Though for a film focused on grief, redemption, and humanity's gray areas between good and bad, this ambiguity is perfectly suited.
Three Billboards stars Frances McDormand as Mildred, in what might be her best performance since Fargo, if not ever. Nine months after her daughter was raped and murdered, the local police have not caught the killer and Mildred is out for blood. McDormand's Mildred is vulgar, witty, and totally unapologetic, which are awesome traits to see on screen, especially from a woman over 40. We rarely see leading females that are middle-aged moms in movies that don't center around their mom-ness. Mildred is a mom but she's also a human being with complicated emotions and impulses (shocking, right!?).
All of the characters in Billboards are complex, which can be surprising if you're used to Hollywood movies with clearly drawn motivations and pay-offs. This film is darkly comic but it's also deeply meditative on human beings - our flaws and they ways they manifest in opportunities for redemption. Its messages are subtle and open to interpretation, which keeps you pondering the complicated nature of humankind long after you leave the theater. I definitely recommend, though don't be caught off guard when the movie is more intense than trailers let on.
Oh and if you're squeamish, proceed with caution.