The Tulane Hullabaloo

Oscars Roster: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Three Billboards is nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Three Billboards is nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Shahmeer Hashmat, Contributing Reporter

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Let’s get straight to it: Martin McDonagh’s latest work is the best film in theaters right now. Hilarious, dark and emotionally gripping, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” is a cinematic achievement that knows how to captivate the viewer with everything that happens on screen. From McDonagh’s excellent screenplay to Francis McDormand’s perfect portrayal of a hardened, grieving mother, the movie hits the nail on the head in almost every aspect. Roaring into Oscars season, the film’s emotional resonance and beautiful direction make it one to remember.

McDonagh’s movie is about Mildred Hayes (Francis McDormand), a forlorn mother who rents out three billboards in a small Midwestern town calling out a police chief, Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), for having made no arrests for the case of her daughter’s rape and murder. From the start, McDonagh sets up a scenario that while tragic, can amount to plenty of hilarity and mishap that makes the movie so spectacular. As the film progresses, one unfortunate event turns into another, and the plot follows the trajectory of every other amazing black comedy of the past, with characters being shocked and their lives upended one day to the next. The film slowly delves into a realization that in life, it is very difficult to find hope and justice, and it is not always easy to determine what steps should ultimately be taken when it seems all is lost.

The performances are stellar. McDormand kills it as a grieving mother who will do anything to find solace in her daughter’s death. Every bit of screen time she has, from showing subtle bits of emotion to trying to blow up a police station, is perfectly timed and acted. Her nomination will undoubtedly lead to her Academy Award, and deservedly so. The supporting cast, as well, play their part to a tee, with Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell giving possibly their best performances ever. The entire cast won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble, so it’s reasonable to expect them to sweep come Oscars season.

McDonagh writes a story that makes the viewer laugh, cry and think. Filled with heart and tragedy, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is an excellent film that does not necessarily explain the complexity behind life’s hardships and pain, but does help to bring a clarity, and beauty, to those emotions.

The Hullabaloo’s Review: 4/5 stars 

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Oscars Roster: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”