Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri stars Frances McDormand as a woman who swears a whole lot more than a sailor. She also happens to be grieving over the unsolved murder of her daughter, which prompts her to erect three billboards highlighting what she views as police incompetence. The flick, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, has an impressive 95% rating from 85 critics on Rotten Tomatoes. What they're saying:
- Kenneth Turan calls Three Billboards an "energetically demented production" with "so many devious turns that it just about whipsaws our expectations." He credits McDonagh for "its verve, its flair and its precision," as well as its "intensely imagined" characters. At the forefront is Mildred Hayes "played with convincing and uncompromising fierceness by McDormand … in what could be the role of her rich and varied career," he writes at the Los Angeles Times.
- Kate Taylor agrees McDormand is "powerful" in this film that "satirizes police brutality and prejudice to great effect." It "recalls the heights of the Coen brothers' black comedies," as McDonagh "reaches for that same kind of black and bloody mix where the audience has no choice but to laugh at the savagery," she writes at the Globe and Mail, touting Sam Rockwell's "delightfully over-the-top performance" as racist Dixon. One weakness: "emotional plausibility."
- Get this woman an Oscar, Brian Truitt writes of McDormand, whom he praises as "wielding righteous anger, fiery emotion, biting humor and an ornery manner right out of a Clint Eastwood Western" at USA Today. Perhaps most complimentary is Truitt's take on the film overall. It's timely—touching on "racism, gender politics, sexual assault, police violence"—yet satisfying, "blending black humor and menace, and fostering a pervading sense of hope amid a relentless story of revenge."
- Put another way, Three Billboards is "a renegade masterpiece that will get you good," writes Peter Travers at Rolling Stone. With not a bad thing to say, Travers calls the film "a no-brainer awards contender." Rockwell is "so crazy good and volcanically funny that you want to spontaneously applaud whenever he shows up." But it's McDormand who "should be adding more gold to her impressive collection." She "will blow you away."
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