Monday, April 2, 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - Powerful Performance of Frances McDormand Which Won Her an Oscar

During the flight to my holiday destination with my wife, I was very fortunate that the inflight entertainment provided us with various options of new movies, including several Academy Awards nominees and winners such as The Shape of Water that I posted earlier. I opted to see the movie I am about to write as the premise seemed very interesting, plus the fact that the movie had not played in Indonesian theaters (and I have no idea whether it was going to play or not). Anyway, let us move on with the movie now.

Brief Story Line

In the small town of Ebbing, Missouri, a woman named Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand - Fargo, Mississippi Burning etc) wanted to put messages on 3 billboards outside the city. After negotiating the price, they were finally put up on the billboards. However the messages would soon create a lot of commotion in the town, especially since it hinted that the town's sheriff named Willoughby (Woody Harrelson - War for Planet of the Apes, Zombieland etc) was not doing anything to solve the case of Mildred's daughter's rape & murder few months earlier. Willoughby was not too happy with the billboards and tried to convince Mildred that it was not an easy case to solve, but there would always be possibility of solving it in future.

Meanwhile one of Willoughby's officer named Dixon (Sam Rockwell - Iron Man 2, Mr. Right etc) was especially offended with the billboard messages and started to harass Mildred and her friend. As he was very protective of his boss, Dixon always tried very hard to make sure Mildred put down the billboards. Mildred did not get a lot of support for doing this, not even from her husband Charlie (John Hawkes - Winter's Bone, Everest etc) who blamed Mildred for what happened to their daughter. The only other person who seemed to be interested in supporting her was James (Peter Dinklage - Game of Thrones TV series, X-Men: Days of Future Past etc). 

Things turned to the worse for Mildred when an incident involving the Sheriff happened at a later stage. So what would happen to Mildred? Would the billboards help her find out the culprit responsible for her daughter's murder? Or would it actually make her life worse than it was? You can find them all after completing this movie

End of Brief Story Line

Phew, this was a movie that was very heavy. I honestly thought that the movie would be more like a drama mystery involving the case, but turned out it was purely drama. The murder mystery was just background to the story of a mother's life after her young teenage daughter was murdered and focusing on how her life changed after the incident. It was also focusing on how difficult it was for her to ensure the case was being prioritized and not forgotten, even if there was very little support. 

For a movie that was having almost 2 hours duration, it was moving at a rather slow & steady pace which was understandable for a drama movie. The things that interest me was actually the characterization of Woody Harrelson as the sheriff and also Sam Rockwell's performance as a racist, drunk, mama's boy officer Dixon. After reading more complete info on this movie, I realized that Sam Rockwell actually won the Oscar for his performance in this movie, which I thought really suit him as it was a really convincing characterization (especially the transformation of his character). I know that Frances McDormand won the best actress in here and somehow I was not surprised as it was a very powerful performance as well. 

The story itself was pretty unique as the title represented a one of a kind way to remind the law (in this case the town's sheriff) to continue investigating the case. And the supporting cast of the movie were generally awesome, including the performance of Lucas Hedges as Midlred's son Robbie. Coincidentally Lucas was also nominated for Academy Awards a year before in the movie Manchester by the Sea. So this movie was filled with quite an ensemble cast of Oscar nominees & winners. With powerful performances from many actors & actress, plus a great story, no wonder it received multiple nominations and even won Best picture in Golden Globes. It did however lose to The Shape of Water in Academy Awards for the best picture.

Overall, for a heavy Oscar movie, I was able to enjoy the film, even if watching it made me feel a bit tired. The only thing that I did not personally like was the ending, which probably was satisfying for others, but it did not really do it for me. I was hoping for a different kind of ending, but I guess some movies may not have the endings that general audience would love to. 

So if you are into this kind of movie and if you want to enjoy the performance from Academy Awards' Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor in 1 movie, this would surely be satisfying for you. However, if you are an audience who prefer to see lighter type movies, this might be a little bit too heavy for your enjoyment. My only regret was the movie had not played in Indonesian cinemas till today and therefore could not be enjoyed by all. Except if you happen to board the plane having this movie in its inflight entertainment (or you are willing to watch this through online streaming). Of course you could always for it to play in the cable TV probably end of this year or early next year. But if you do get the chance to see it now, I hope you would enjoy it.

Mike's movie moments rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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