Holy shit. This film is incredible.
I would highly, highly recommend anyone who hasn’t already seen this masterpiece to get down to a cinema. I’ve pre-ordered it on Amazon. I saw it yesterday, and I want to see it again. My partner willingly went to see it for the second time with me. It is incredible.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
The story is fictional, but it is still incredibly powerful. The film follows a furious mother (Frances McDorman) who has lost her daughter. Her teenage daughter is raped and killed just outside the town limits, and for the last seven months it appears as if the police are doing nothing to find her killer. So, Mildred Hayes buys three billboards and plasters a message to law enforcement across them. What unfolds next is a mixture of incredible dark humour, raw human emotion and a real insight into grief.
The chief of police (Woody Harrelson) has terminal cancer, so the billboards calling out a likeable, dying man don’t go down too well with the town. A war sparks between Mildred Hayes and the police department. The film touches upon racial and homophobic biases (it is set in the South after all…) but most importantly shows incredible growth in the characters during a relatively short space of screen time. If you told me I would end up rooting for a presumably racist, shithead cop who throws innocent men out of windows – I doubt I would have believed it.
I, personally, sobbed at three separate points, laughed out loud more times than I could count and physically pumped the air as McDorman delivered some of her lines.
Willoughby: You didn’t happen to drill a *little* hole in the dentist today, did you?
Mildred Hayes: Of course not.
Mildred Hayes: This didn’t put an end to shit, you fucking retard; this is just the fucking start. Why don’t you put that on your Good Morning Missouri fucking wake up broadcast, bitch?
Robbie: You old cunt!
Mildred Hayes: I’m not old, Robbie.
Mildred Hayes: … And if you’re upstairs smoking a pipe and reading a bible while one of your fellow gang members is downstairs fucking an altar boy then, Father, just like those Crips, and just like those Bloods, you’re culpable. Cos you joined the gang, man. And I don’t care if you never did shit or you never saw shit or you never heard shit. You joined the gang. You’re culpable. And when a person is culpable to altar-boy-fucking, or any kinda boy-fucking, I know you guys didn’t really narrow that down, then they kinda forfeit the right to come into my house and say anything about me, or my life, or my daughter, or my billboards. So, why don’t you just finish your tea there, Father, and get the fuck outta my kitchen.
I cheered when she finished this speech.
I can’t express enough how powerful this film is. Potentially the best film I have seen produced in the last five years: certainly my current favourite. I would see this again and again and again.
Perhaps anger does beget greater anger, but Mildred Hayes shows an unashamed sense of fury in the face of lazy justice and I think most people can relate to her extreme reaction to loss. I doubt I would act much differently if my daughter had been murdered.
So, friends, get your arses to a cinema & don’t speak to me until you’ve seen it.