Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Sometimes, a movie will come out of nowhere and no one knows anything about it. Then a buzz starts up and then some Golden Globe awards are won and it seems like maybe there is something good there.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is that kind of movie and it appears to be a top contender for the Best Picture Oscar. The story follows a grieving mother who purchases three billboards on a road no one travels to advertise the local police chief’s inability to catch her daughter’s murderer.

The writing and delivery of the material works very well and keeps the viewer engaged, even though it seems like an unconventional and potentially boring story. The characters are wonderful and develop in ways you don’t totally anticipate. There are plenty of subtle intricacies that once you catch them, make you smirk. Things like dialog that seems rather mundane only to find a story element later on referring directly back to what was said.

The performances are also top notch. Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson deliver the goods and Sam Rockwell’s roller coaster of a character arc definitely deserved that Golden Globe, and possibly an Oscar.

My only gripe is that I felt there were a few too many coincidences. These things can bring the story momentum down a bit, because it seems rather forced, contrived, or outright impossible. What this movie had going for it was that it was set in a small town, so there are just going to be coincidences when everyone knows each other and the landscape is pretty compacted.