"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" Review

Updated on December 25, 2017
Ross Tanenbaum profile image

Ross is a student at the University of Maryland. He is planning on majoring in Film Studies and English.

A Dark Drama That Mixes Intense Emotional Moments With Some Humor


In a time where police have become such a hot topic in the media, this film brings up a lot of ideas about the police and the legal system in general. While there are plenty of bad eggs within the police force, this film shows that many are normal, everyday people who are simply trying to do the best job that they can.


Frances McDormand plays a mother who is trying to get justice from the police after her daughter was raped and murdered. Some time has passed and there have still been no arrests or suspects in her daughter's case. So, she puts up three billboards that call out the chief of police (Woody Harrelson). The billboards start up a lot of controversy as people start to react to these billboards. McDormand faces a lot of backlash from her small town, but she is determined to keep the billboards up until the cops get some answers about who killed her daughter.


This film's main strong point is the performances from it's great cast. McDormand is definitely going to be getting some award consideration for her performance in this film. She is an absolute powerhouse in this movie. Her character is an extremely tough cookie, and she does a lot of things that make it hard to keep supporting her character. She has a good heart, but she is definitely someone who you do not want to mess with.

Harrelson is also great. I think his character is easy to sympathize with, especially considering what his character goes through in this movie. He has a lot of charm and it is easy to find his character likable. However, the other standout in this film is Sam Rockwell as another police officer who works in this town. The arc he goes through in this film makes his character very compelling. In the beginning, I thought his character was just some despicable, racist cop, but towards the end of the film, I was questioning whether I actually liked him or not. The direction his character takes is very unpredictable.

There are a number of great performances from the supporting cast including Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, Caleb Landry Jones, and John Hawkes. Everyone really puts their all into this movie.


The film is directed by Martin McDonagh who does a great job directing this film. It is very well paced and has a lot of great moments throughout. He allows the acting and the dialogue to carry out the momentum in each scene. He does bring in some comedic elements into scenes that shouldn't be funny, but the humor always feels natural. There is nothing in this movie that really feels forced.

McDonagh also deals with a lot of dramatic themes such as loss, police brutality, domestic violence, and racism but he does a good job at keeping it balanced. It never feels excessive in order to create drama in a movie. Everything in this movie seems like something that the characters would do, even if it wasn't scripted.

My only issue with this film is that there are certain plot lines that never felt like they wrapped up. When the movie ended, I felt like there should have been a little bit more so that the ending could have been a bit more satisfying.

Final Thoughts

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri has a compelling story that is propelled by outstanding performances and satisfying moments. It has a lot of uncomfortable moments, but balances it with some rewarding and humorous elements. It can be a bit upsetting at times, but it only makes the film all the more impactful.

Rating: 9/10


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