We need to discuss whether ‘Three Billboards’ deserves all of these major awards

24th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards

CB didn’t like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. I didn’t let that affect me when I saw it – I am a huge Frances McDormand fan, and I was glad to see her play this kind of role. But ladies and gentlemen, this film is a bloody mess. To be fair: Frances and Sam Rockwell elevate the material with their superior performances. But the script is SO problematic, from the way race (and racism) is (mis)handled, to the glossing over of the realities of police brutality, to actually using the violent rape and murder of a young woman as a plot device – it’s all bad. Keep in mind that the script was so clearly written by someone who is not American and someone who has no idea how Americans speak.

But Three Billboards continues its march towards Oscar glory, in what it one of the most bizarre late-surges for an Oscar season that I’ve ever seen. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell both picked up individual SAG Awards for their performances last night, and the film won Best Ensemble. Which is a f–king joke.

Frances wore Valentino and she looked appropriately over it. Abbie Cornish – who did a weird, f–ked up hybrid accent in the film – wore Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini. Sam Rockwell wore Prada. Will these people and this film win big at the Oscars? Well, the SAGs are one of the best indicators, so yeah, probably.

24th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards

24th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards

24th Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards

Photos courtesy of Getty, WENN.

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146 Responses to “We need to discuss whether ‘Three Billboards’ deserves all of these major awards”

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  1. MostlyMegan says:

    I didn’t get the appeal of the movie overall. In fact, I don’t know what message it was trying to send. The protagonist was a horrible person, and I felt sorry for her character’s son. However the performances were admirable.

    • JosieH says:

      Ultimately, the movie is about lost souls finding healing and redemption through each other. Dixon restores Mildred’s faith in people, while she helps him find the good in himself. It’s a beautiful film. The criticisms regarding it (that it isn’t wokey woke enough, for example) really seem to be missing the point.

      • Julia says:

        Completely agree with you here JosieH. Yes, the scenario is wonky and the movie has its flaws, but the overall message of acceptance and redemption worked for me.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        Gotta say, JosieH, I love your summary interpretation of the film. Healing and redemption found by these tragicomic characters within each other. That, to me, is the heart of this film, and in the end, the humanity it uncovers within them makes some sort of dishevelled beauty of those messy lives.

      • Belle says:

        Agree. Seems a lot of people missed that, but I thought the film had kind of a beautiful message. Plus the acting was amazing by Sam and frances.

      • Marty says:

        I’m glad y’all found it enjoyable, but I’m so damn tired of seeing movies where female and PoC violence is used to elevate white character’s growth.

      • MeNina says:

        I haven’t seen it, but after several black cultural and media critics have articulated why it’s oroblematic racially, I think it’s important not to assume that they are all missing the point of the movie and that there may be something to criticisms.

      • Malako says:

        The movie looks good to me. Good entertainment. And it makes me think. And I tend to agree with the message.
        Some comments just tell a lot more about the writer than about the movie.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Agree with Marty.
        I hadn’t thought of that Marty, but it is what bugged me.
        That was one of the best insights about race in movies I read in a long time. No one ever points that out, but it is done over and over.
        How about the reverse? We never see that.
        How about a movie without martyrs that shows what happens to the black family after violence. A middle-class family like Trayvon’s and the emotional toll.
        I hope someone does a movie about that. That case haunts me in my soul. I saw Sabrina at an event, and there just aren’t words.
        How about those stories.

      • Katie says:

        Hmm. It really bugged me how everyone behaved however they wanted and there were never any consequences – yes you can attack the dentist, burn down the police station, throw someone out the window and maybe you’ll lose your job or there’s a risk someone will press charges but that’s IT.

        I don’t think Frances’s character has found any healing. She’d just transferred her object of rage. And Sam Rockwell’s character was a showy piece of acting with no soul or realism at its core. That wasn’t a real person!

      • Maria S. says:

        “The criticisms regarding it (that it isn’t wokey woke enough, for example) really seem to be missing the point”

        No. People are allowed to disagree with your opinion of this movie without being accused of not getting it. We get it. We simply disagree. Because watching a violent, racist cop have a redemptive arc without actually, you know, evolving, is nauseating. Because the victim of his racist violence had no voice and his pain was no obstacle to the racist cop’s redemption. Your mocking use of “wokey woke” is very telling.

      • GigiC says:

        “… wokey woke…”

        Wow, really? I had to re-read this over a few times because I was literally at a loss of words on this ignorant comment for about five minutes.

        So you decide to denigrate an entire movement because people like me are “missing the point” if we don’t agree with your praise of this film? Tsk.


      • SCF says:

        Wokey Woke and the Funky Bunch.

      • ElleC says:

        @Marty @Maria S @GigiC Bravo!
        Says a lot about a movie that the best praise / defense fans can muster is that “it’s not wokey-woke” / “it’s not politically correct” / “it lets people make up their own minds” / “that’s just how people in small towns talk” / “you just don’t get it.” Talk about pulling a page from the Darren Aronofsky playbook!

        What a privilege to sit so removed from any real world threat of racial violence that you can enjoy its perpetuation as a plot device for your intellectual titillation! How come we roll our eyes when dude-auteurs claim the brutalization of an actress was necessary to provoke discomfort about the blight of mother earth, but not this? And who are these people who find empathy and respect for difference (aka political correctness/wokey-wokeness) so onerous a burden?

    • SJ says:

      I took the film’s message as compassion accomplishes more than hate/anger, which is a relevant message to push in our current society.

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        Yes, I agree.

      • MostlyMegan says:

        I understand that was one of the sentiments but did that really hold up? They were going to go beat up (kill) someone who wasn’t even connected to the crime they were trying to solve. I know there were tender moments in the movie but it’s like people being horrid to each other and with some tenderness thrown in. Frances’ character wasn’t mean and horrible because she was hellbent on solving the murder – she was like that before the murder. She just a bad person making bad decisions and never really having to deal with the consequences of her actions. Obviously, she felt guilt for her daughter’s rape and murder but then she put the blame on the police department. There were so many plot holes. Just not a great movie at all in my opinion. No one will be taking about it in years to come.

    • Actually, says:

      The message is “racists and violent gay bashers are human too! Don’t be mean to them, just love them!”

      I feel like it’s not discussed enough that white people in this movie throw the n-word around with relish. This is Not Fucking Okay.

      • Umyeah says:

        @actually yes the term is used, is that a term not by used by small town people is missouri?

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        That bothered me, too, Actually – I flinched at the occurrences of the n-word – but as a lifelong San Diegan transplanted by marriage to the very red-state small-town Midwest — and I have a mixed-race family populated with Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ activists — I see this stuff in real time, and I think that hardbitten context was really the point: that if people with such cultural and social deprivation can find the humanity within each other (and, ultimately, within themselves), even in a place like that, there may yet be some hope for the larger world, fraught though it is.

      • Mee says:

        White people throw the n- word around when black people aren’t around. This was a correct representation of small town Missouri. I vouch for that

      • Lightpurple says:

        And it isn’t presented as if it were okay. It’s presented in a way to make you feel uncomfortable. These aren’t attractive people. They are all deeply flawed and we feel the discomfort and pain they bring to others and upon themselves.

      • Mina says:

        And do you think those terms aren’t in the script to make you, as an audience, feel uncomfortable at how people can be so nonchalantly racist without even realizing it? I honestly don’t understand why people think that having racist characters means the movie is racist.

      • magnoliarose says:

        You should flinch that is the point. People throw it around. I heard my southern relatives say it like it was pointing out the sky is blue. The first time I heard it as a child was when I was spending a week with them as a “mending the family divide” exercise. My parents never let me go without two of my older siblings because they knew it could get messy.
        My Deda and grandmother made me call them every single day because they were convinced something terrible was going to happen to me. My older siblings except for two are civil but have no interest in them because they remember the fights and hurt my parents experienced.
        They took me to Catholic church every day and I loved it but later found out it was my Papere’s idea he was going to save my soul. Mamere is not a racist and would get upset by racist language, but the “real never left the parish” cousins are racists.
        On one of my phone calls to my grandparents, I asked what the N word meant. I didn’t want to believe it was a bad word and OMG it caused a family crisis. I didn’t want to think my cousin that was fun would say things like that.
        So some people use it when black people aren’t around, and they are well aware of it too.

      • Melanie says:

        Agreed. I read a review from a black woman who actually likes the writer, but her feelings about his use of the n word resonated with me. I’m white, I don’t use that word, and yes I know people in the South tend to fling it freely. However, saying it repeatedly (I’m basing this on the critic’s review) feels like being hit over the head with the point. Yes, yes, you’re a racist maniac. I got that the first time you said it. It feels like lazy writing to me.

        I hear this word enough in real life on my local streets and I get into shouting matches with strangers. I don’t need to pay to see this. It’s too stressful.

    • isabelle says:

      Th main character wasn’t meant to be liked, the whole town hate her and think we as an audience had to understand why to some degree.

    • ElleC says:

      Whoops – think i responded in the wrong spot

  2. MVC says:

    Blue Lives Matter: The Movie

    Giving a racist, violent cop a redemption arc… Lady Bird, Call Me By Your Name or Get Out deserve much more awards than this movie not only for the acting but for the scripts.

    • S says:

      ^^ This, and what @MeNina said above. We don’t need another movie where people of color are backgrounded, violently assaulted and maligned, all in order to get to an eventual, “racists are people, too,” message.

      This isn’t groundbreaking, this is throwback cinema that, frankly, long ago lost whatever cultural impact it may have. This film screams “important,” but it’s a grim, slice of life best picture of 1968, not 2018.

  3. BooRadley says:

    Having not seen the movies, but having read reviews, is this a bit of tokenism, given the material?
    Well it’s about a woman who was raped and killed and how her mother is fighting for justice. That fits in with the theme this year, if we vote for it, it shows our wokeness??
    Just thinking out loud…

    • noodle says:

      I was thinking the same thing. ‘Let’s just give this film all these shiny awards and show the world we are woke’ must have been going through their minds. I feel like that every year when they start doling out the awards. Just to pacify the group that is the loudest at the moment. They have to be at least somewhat decent or be Meryl Streep

    • sara says:

      Eh, I see what you’re saying, but this movie got rave reviews from critics months before the whole Weinstein/MeToo/everything else stuff started. It was always predicted to be a big awards movie. (I haven’t seen it and don’t have any desire to)

    • Malako says:

      And I thought that it was good movies who got rewards … apparently you have to hit the zeitgeist on the head …

      Gotta give credit to the movie for not doing the politically correct arc or language.

    • Mina says:

      I think you should see the movie. There’s nothing tokenism in it, and it’s not what youd’d think when you read a summary. It’s not a generic crime movie, it’s more about dealing with anger and grief in rather unhealthy ways that open a door for some self discovery.

  4. Katherine says:

    Frances will win her second Oscar. I can’t wait

  5. Jussie says:

    It’s this years Crash.

    • minx says:

      Yep, seems like it.

    • LadyT says:

      Brokeback Mountain should have won that year. I’m still mad over that one.

      • Trying Again says:


        After Brokeback Mountain lost the Oscar to Crash, I kindof sortof gave up on the Oscars being a fair awards show. I figured it was rigged.

    • Nicole says:

      Still mad as well

    • Mina says:

      It’s curious you say that. Crash won mostly for political reasons, not its artistic value. This movie is being criticized for political reasons over its artistic value.

    • Kelsey says:

      Agree with this. I thought 3 Billboards was a vapid, boring, uninspired mess. Don’t even get me started about how a racist cop who beat up the black residents of the town for kicks was “redeemed” simply by a letter. At the showing I was at there were applauding the actions of Sam Rockwell’s character which made me feel very uncomfortable.

      The director may not have meant to make the racist cop a hero but that’s what some people are taking away from this movie. It means the director (who is also the screenwriter) did a very poor job of (allegedly) calling out racism.

      This movie will age poorly and be an afterthought a year from now. Meanwhile movies like Get Out, Lady Bird, and Call Me By Your Name will be loved and remembered. Get Out is already being taught in film school classes.

    • Parigo says:

      Exactly what I thought.

  6. Nicole says:

    It will and it will be so annoying. Get Out is still the best movie of the year and the fact that a blue live matter movie will win over a movie that takes down racism from all angles is so peak white Hollywood.

    • Domino says:

      Yes. This. 1000% this.

    • Domino says:

      Ugh and because I am so frustrated -three billboards was just dumb! Why was it nominated except for maybe McDormand’s performance?

    • Umyeah says:

      I did not feel 3 Billboards was in any way a Blue Lives Matter film in any way. Did you have a chsnce to see thr film?

      • Nicole says:

        Yea I did. I make it a habit to see all oscar movies before January. There’s a good NYT article that was a good critique of the movie. In the end I don’t think they tackled the material in a way that was critical and thoughtful. I found it lazy
        Performance wise I think Rockwell stood out but I don’t think this movie deserves the late surge its getting against superior films.

      • Umyeah says:

        I guess i dont see how its a blue lives matter film ( remember the scene with molitoff cocktail?) , can you elborate on your thoughts about that?

      • Nicole says:

        I felt the underlying themes were never sewn together or adequately critiqued. So it ended up- coming off like a blue lives matter skew during many points of the movie.
        This sums it up pretty well

    • Aiobhan Targaryen says:

      It will be almost as bad as Driving Miss Daisy getting an Oscar nom over Do The Right Thing.

      • Nicole says:

        Nah I think it will be Crash levels bad. Which was legit the worst best picture winner of my lifetime. Talk about a lazy movie as well masquerading as woke.

    • Margo S. says:

      Nicole, so well put! It’s so obvious that majority of voters or old white dudes… They should be embarrassed.

    • isabelle says:

      100% Totally agree, but the academy and the Globes people “don’t get it”.

    • Texasho says:

      As great as Get Out May be, Call Me by Your Name is the best movie of the year. Just thought this point needed to be corrected.

      • lannisterforever says:

        THIS. I think Get Out was really cool and original, but Call Me by Your Name was one of the most moving films I’ve ever seen.

      • Nicole says:

        I liked CMBYN but I didn’t find it as layered as Get Out.

    • Marty says:

      The fact that this movie is is getting so much recognition over Get Out is a perfect example of how Hollywood is still full of faux woke progressives. Jordan Peele made a flawless film, on his first try no less, and is basically being told he can have a seat at the table but he’s not allowed to speak.

      And while I like Sam Rockwell and Francis McDormand and think their good actors, nothing on God’s green earth is going to convince me Three Billboards was a better acted film than Get Out.

      • Nicole says:

        Agreed. Faux woke is right

      • S says:

        Get Out did what Three Billboards claimed they wanted to, not only 10,000x better, but in an epically entertaining fashion. It wasn’t a “difficult” movie to watch, it was engrossing, thoughtful and, dare I say, kind of fun, in a terrible way.

        Frances McDormand may be a good actor, same for Sam Rockwell and the rest but they’re “acting” so hard in Three Billboards, it bumps up against a parody of an Oscar performance. That it’s actually getting awards feels so off to me. Watching Three Billboards felt like doing homework.

        Those calling this 2018’s “Crash” are, I believe, spot on.

      • BorderMollie says:

        Faux woke is the perfect description. I have a strong suspicion most speaking out on these new movements don’t actually care about change. They’re just out for their own personal brand.

      • magnoliarose says:

        Same here.
        It seemed dated to me. Like the theme was 90s but not where we should be in 2018. I hope it doesn’t win.

      • Mina says:

        I have to admit, I don’t understand the fascination with Get Out beyond it’s brilliant look at racism. Why do you love it so much, beyond the theme?

  7. T.Fanty says:

    It’s Martin McDonagh, so it’s both problematic and has a good pedigree.

    More importantly, we are recognizing performances. Perhaps it is insensitive to the moment, but firstly, that’s kind of on us, because we continue to contribute to the prestige of the Oscars by watching and discussing, and secondly, are we going to take away Antony Hopkins’ performance, because we are morally opposed to serial killers? I can see the argument to be made for Best Movie, perhaps, but for actors, it seems to be a storm in a teacup. Nobody is going to convince me that Sam Rockwell doesn’t deserve recognition.

    • BaronSamedi says:

      100% with you on this. It’s about the performances. I don’t know why the movie itself would also need flashing neon signs telling the audience that obviously the behaviour of the characters is bad.

      I actually enjoy being treated like an adult who is capable of making my own judgement calls based on the character’s behaviour. At no point did the movie try to sugarcoat the reprehensible things these people said or did. Reasonable people don’t need any handholding to come to the right conclusions there.

    • lightpurple says:

      I think Rockwell’s performance definitely deserves the recognition. McDormand’s performance is good but I think she is splitting the votes between Sally Hawkins, who is luminous in The Shape of Water, and Saoirse Ronan.

      • T.Fanty says:

        That’s fair, but that’s an entirely different argument to “these actors should be canceled because the movie is problematic.”

        That said, writing out that last sentence opens the door to a different conversation. It’s potentially the “why do people work with Woody Allen?” conversation, but what do we do when something is willfully, or ignorantly, blind, as opposed to actively destructive, like Allen? Presumably, this was written and greenlit before Trump ignited a national conversation. My students regularly dismiss the racism in Huckleberry Finn on the grounds of ‘that’s how people were back then.’ What do we do with that argument?

  8. Mina says:

    Sigh. The script is not a bloody mess. The whole point is the black humor and the “glossing over” awful things to provoke a reaction. It’s brilliant. And it shows a real mentality in many little towns all over, where people can be racist and prejudicial because that’s what they know and haven’t realized yet how wrong it is. Sam Rockwell’s character is an example of how brutality and racism is a learned behavior that could be unlearned. I feel like some people are so wrapped in the politics of the real world that they have lost the ability to appreciate art as a conversation starter, as a provocation and as a reflection of realities that are not what we want the world to be, but they still exist. The movie makes no judgement of it’s flawed characters, that doesn’t mean it promotes what they do.

    • JosieH says:

      “The movie makes no judgement of it’s flawed characters, that doesn’t mean it promotes what they do.”

      Exactly. It’s stunning that people refuse to get that.

    • Surely Wolfbeak says:

      It’s a movie you have to actively bring your own moral judgement to, rather than have it spelled out for you.

    • Domino says:

      hmmmmmm….I am going to respectfully disagree with you Mina. I don’t think the movie offered any lessons that you are saying, though it tried.

      There is a difference between art that provokes and art that is tone deaf. Three billboards was definitely the latter.

      • Mina says:

        I don’t think the movie offers any lesson or intends to deliver any messages aside from here are really screwed up characters that also have a good side, you make your own judgement. I said Sam Rockwell’s character was an example, not a lesson. Why do you think it’s tone deaf?

      • Rhys says:

        It always amuses me that Americans need their movies to provide them with clear “lessons.” It explains why Hollywood is so generic that you can pretty much guess the plot and any twist that’s coming way ahead. Try watching some of the European (or any good-quality non-Hollywood) films and appreciate the opportunity to think for yourself.

      • Domino says:

        @Mina I thought it lame the film was co-opting the struggle of minorities while centralizing white anger and violence. That felt tone deaf to me.

        @Rhys I don’t need my movies to provide lessons? But this movie was clearly inspired by BLM and it was lazy. I have seen plenty of art house, even nonverbal movies in my time. Movies can be all kinds of design and be enjoyable, Three billboards just made me cringe, as audiences who want to consider themselves woke patted themselves on the back they weren’t like that and wow to see an angry white woman curse and be vengeful was novel for them.

        In two years three billboards will be a nothing movie, while get out will be studied for years to come, and actually makes a salient point about police, racism and the prison industrial complex and how we literally are banishing folks to sunken places as we speak.

        But you are entitled to your opinions, I am to mine. Seems clear I am an outlier.

      • Mina says:

        @Domino, I respect and embrace your opinions about the actual movie. But I don’t think it was inspired by BLM at all. The movie was inspired by a true story, billboards the director/writer saw years ago while traveling through the south. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but I have seen billboards like this too, and there was a very famous case in which the father of murder victim Kathy Page (killed in 1991, allegedly by her husband) put up billboards in Texas accusing the police of corruption for not clearing his daughter’s murder. I think the black and racism aspect are added to provide a commentary of how things are in this little towns full of people living in their bubble.

    • Umyeah says:

      I see films all the time where children are murdered or go missing and the mother falls apart. I liked on in this film the mother didnt fall apart, she got mad and was seeking justice, something we never see from woman in that sitaution. As for the racism aspect, I didnt feel the cop was in any way redeemed. I dont live in the States but would it be fair to say in a small town in Missouri there would be some real racists even in this day and age? If so, would the film just have depicted reality?

      • Zapp Brannigan says:

        That is what I thought was interesting about it too, that the characters externalized their anger rather than internalized, we would normally see the mother fall apart and turn her hurt inwards, her pain making her “noble” in how she bore it, instead she raged against everyone, this was mirrored in a lesser extent with Sam Rockwell’s character who was in a toxic family relationship with his mother, his anger turned outwards towards minorities in the small town that he felt were even more powerless than him, (not to excuse the racist use of language in the film which I found uncomfortable) I don;t feel he was redeemed at the end, I felt it was just two people directing rage in another way rather than resolving it, the powerless trying to be powerful in some way.

        Sorry for being vague, trying not to spoil it for people who have yet to watch.

      • Mina says:

        I don’t think the cop was redeemed or meant to be redeemed, really. There’s not enough time in the movie to show a real redemption. I think that it showed a character with a lot of issues who expressed his anger in toxic ways and was used to be considered an idiot and useless, until one person believed in him enough to inspire him to try to be better (was he better, though? That’s for us to decide, especially considering the open ending). The movie is actually very generous with the audience in the sense that it lets them make their own judgements about the characters by showing you many sides of them. It would be so easy to have the brutal cop be so so so bad you hate him all the movie and the mother be so so so good that she’s a hero. Neither of them is that good or that bad.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        “would it be fair to say in a small town in Missouri there would be some real racists even in this day and age?”

        Absolutely 100% yes.

      • Umyeah says:

        @zapp i think you sumed it up perfectly

      • Missmarirose says:

        Yes, thank you. People keep saying that Rockwell’s character was redeemed but he wasn’t. Neither he nor Mildred nor the Chief learned anything or were redeemed by the end of the movie. The Chief is still making excuses for that cop in his letter and pays for the billboards knowing it will make things worse for Mildred when he kills himself.

        And ffs, the movie ends with those two a holes driving away to kill or maim someone who might not have actually done anything wrong.

        There is no redemption for any of them. They might have had moments of clarity but only as it relates to their own perceived victimhood. They’re still selfis, angry, horrible people.

    • boredblond says:

      Well said, Mina..it’s a shame that a film that doesn’t follow the simplistic formula that ‘all a’s are good all b’s are bad’ is criticized for it’s entertainment value. I loved the film–the characters, all flawed, were shaped–and changed–through life events.

    • Belle says:

      Perfect response. It’s apparent who missed the point here.

    • lobstah says:

      @Mina – I totally agree. Brilliant! I LOVED this movie, this cast, this story.

      • Redgrl says:

        I recently said to a friend that I couldn’t believe Woody Harrelson actually made me (and hubby) cry. That letter his character wrote to his wife about the most perfect day was just gut-wrenching.

    • Reef says:

      Huh, you left that movie not hating the cop? Interesting. I was excited to watch this movie and if I had known there would be so many “n*ggers” thrown around for laughs, I probably wouldn’t have gone. This movie wasn’t meant for me. At all. It’s really amusing folks can look beyond the racism and brutality of the folks involved and see the art but uh…lol, no. I’m disappointed but not surprised.

      • Mina says:

        No, actually the only character I hated was the ex husband.

        I know life would be way easier if we could put characters in little white and boxes of good and bad, but it’s not that simple. It’s our inability to understand where some behaviors come from that has turned us into such a polarized society. This movie just showed a little glimpse at what it would be like if we showed some compassion and had more faith in people. At least that’s what I got from it.

      • Reef says:

        Hmm, I thought it was hackneyed nonsense for a Deputy Dewey-ish character but my opinion was formed after the 5th “n*gger” I heard. Redemption from racism doesn’t come because you try to solve a white woman’s murder. I don’t understand the logic there.
        I’m really trying not to conflate things, but one of the biggest issues I have with how America deals with race more than anything else is the immediacy of forgiveness required of black people. Every mother of a child murdered by police or the family of those murdered church go-ers by that white supremacist were immediately asked if they forgave the people that killed their family. Like it was expected and something was wrong with them if they didn’t. And that’s my issue with the movie, Deputy Dewey was forgiven without atonement or redemption. It’s bogus saying the film didn’t do a value judgment on him.

      • Mina says:

        But who forgave him? Did you? Did any character in the movie actually “forgive” him? I think you’re mixing two things here. I agree with you about the requirement of immediate forgiveness, but I don’t think that’s a topic in the movie. Racism is a bad trait in some of the characters, but it’s not the theme of the movie. The victim was a white woman, yes, because this is a little town in Missouri with a vast white majority (which helps explain the racism too, not much room for diversity. The other minority, a man with dwarfism, was also ostracized). Spoilers ahead: Dixon is racist because he’s a dimwit and a loser and the only people he has some power over are the marginalized minorities (it’s said he beat up a black prisoner, so someone that was under his authority, not even black people in the streets who would most likely beat him up instead). He didn’t really try to solve a woman’s murder. He was just inspired because the person who he admired the most said he saw he was good enough. So he was trying to be that good in the only way he could think of. Now if you think planning a murder is redemption… well, that just shows how different people can appreciate actions differently. Did Mildred forgive him? Mildred didn’t have anything personal against any of the cops, except she thought they had botched the case. To her, seeing this asshole be the one person that offered her some hope, was eye-opening in a way.

      • Keaton says:

        @Mina I was going to write out my impressions of the film but I’ll just say I agree with yours so much. Especially your take on the Sam Rockwell character. Just look at the ending: These two are literally talking about murdering a man they *think* is a rapist. Just openly chatting about it. That is how far Frances’s character has fallen due to her grief, rage and guilt and how little Sam Rockwell has changed at all.

        RE: Race. Now that I think about it, I think it’s possible the writers could have completely nixed the use of the n-word entirely and not changed the gist of the film. It was really used as a tool to make the audience uncomfortable and to signal to them none of these people are “good” and some, like Sam Rockwell, are quite disgusting. But they could’ve shown how dumb and violent Sam Rockwell was without touching on race at all tbh.

    • GMonkey says:

      Exactly. I feel like the characters almost have to turn to the camera and say, “The N-word is bad, don’t say it, we’re just using it to demonstrate that many white people in the Southern Midwest of the USA speak this way.” Or that every character demonstrating immoral behavior needs to be shown getting punished accordingly, and if they aren’t it’s glorifying that behavior.

      I feel like this was a movie for thinking adults who know that people can be sh!tholes and sometimes they get away with it, and sometimes they are punished only in a minor way, and not as much as they deserve. Sometimes crappy people are interesting to watch as they spiral. Not everyone gets the justice they deserve. That’s also reality.

      This was 1000X better than Crash. That was one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.

      I also don’t think this was a pro-cop movie. They look like inbred jerks, for the most part.

  9. Chaine says:

    Nothing about the trailers made me want to see the film, don’t know anyone who has seen it, either.

  10. marianne says:

    SAG is a big indicator for who will be nominated in the acting category. Not necessarily winning though. Because EVERYONE in the academy not just their fellow actors (like the SAGs) get to vote.

  11. Luca76 says:

    I think it was both a deeply brilliant film and incredibly problematic. Like it was nuanced deep and real but the writer clearly needed another draft at the film. One where the black, likely LGTB characters, and women get some embodiment. But calling it bad isn’t really fair because it was brilliantly written and performed.

    • Scotchy says:

      I agree with you @luca, as a movie on a whole it was brilliantly acted and brilliantly acted. Was it the best movie, no for me that was Get Out, but it was in my top movies of the 2017.
      Eh everyone is entitled to their opinions.
      I mean I despised Ladybird and everyone seems to fawn over it. So clearly all entertainment is subjective. I do think it deserves awards maybe not all of them but it deserves some.

  12. Margo S. says:

    I’m glad you mentioned this. I haven’t seen this yet, but have read many articles about the issues with the plot and how it basically glosses over the police brutality part and makes the cop a “good guy” in the end. Like he redeems himself or something…?

    Typical Hollywood. Is this again the majority of white dudes over the age of 65 doing the voting? Probably.

    • Umyeah says:

      I saw the film and did not feel it redeemed the racist cop at all.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Considering what they set out to do together at the end, I wouldn’t consider him a “good guy.”

    • Taxi says:

      No, there are very clear rules for who can vote in which categories. It isn’t “white dudes over the age of 65” who vote.

    • Mina says:

      The Academy has made efforts to include more diverse voters in all the categories, which is why Moonlight won last year over La La Land (which was a very typical “old white dude” Hollywood movie). I don’t think this movie is so much the taste of the more traditional branch of the Academy, really. That would be The Post, Call me By Your Name, Dunkirk and even Lady Bird, because the old Academy likes a quirky indie comedy. 3 Billboards is definitely more appreciated by indie lovers. critics and actors, which explains its win at the GG and the SAGS. Yet which movie won with the Producers, who are the main voters in Best Picture? The Shape of Water. Not this one.

  13. Lala says:

    I will watch Sam and Frances in anything…period. point. blank…their talent, for me ,demands those viewings…I have no problem with them getting whatever awards they can get…and since I basically ONLY saw art-house films, from the late 60s to the late 90s…seriously, back in the day, if it was made by a mainstream film company, I would NOT EVEN VIEW IT…more than a bit of a snob there…the subject matter doesn’t even make me blink…it’s the performances that I ALWAYS focus on…and since I have a potty mouth that I have to manage with GUSTO in order to maintain employment…I LOVE FRANCES’ CHARACTER!

    • Rhys says:

      Frances is an absolute genius. A true Actor. I agree – I will watch her in anything.

      I also agree about the mainstream movies and their “lessons” provided for a lazy watcher. Can’t stand those generic Hollywood scripts.

  14. Gina says:

    Thought it was a great movie and absolutely 100% behind it receiving this recognition. People seem to have a skewed focus on the Rockwell character; as someone said above, they felt he wrongly received ‘redemption’. I took it much differently. I felt it a reminder that the very worst of us isn’t 100% bad, the very best of us isn’t 100% good. In these tribalistic times that are tearing apart the U.S., perhaps there’s a positive reminder in that message.

    And besides, McDormand was stellar.

    • courtney says:

      i agree. the film did not attempt to make excuses for all the problematic behavior and none of the characters are one dimensional all bad or all good. i dont think they were event trying to conventionally redeem sam rockewell’s character- i dont think that was the intention but once a film is out its open to interpretation. i think its a fine line between censorship and sensitivity. we each view a film through our own lens. i think people (especially ones who openly admit to not seeing it) are trying to simplify the story and the complicated characters. i think its a much better film than many of them being nominated. it doesnt have to solve the problem of racism to be worthy. just my two cents

  15. P says:

    Saw it at TIFF. The film reeks of an a amature student film in terms of writing, plot, style, dialogue, and attempts at humor. Even the superb acting cannot redeem it. Have no clue why it continues to win awards.

    • S says:

      This was my impression of the movie as well. Try hard and aching self-conscious. That the screenwriter/director is not American seemed so clear to me in the watching. Like, yes, racism, brutality, etc. absolutely do exist in middle (and everywhere else) America, but nothing about this portrayal of it rang true to me.

      It felt like telling a story from a photograph; you might get the broad strokes of what’s going on correct, but you miss all the nuance actually being in the place and time would provide.

    • BorderMollie says:

      Not a comment specific to this movie, but I’ve always found great acting can redeem a poor movie and a great movie can redeem poor acting.

    • ms single malt says:

      It won the Peoples Choice award at TIFF – usually an indicator of upcoming Oscar success.

  16. Ira says:

    Sam Rockwell deserved Oscar long time ago for worked in Moon. He’s very very underrated.
    Over the years many people compare him with Gary Oldman. I’ve also heard that in fact he’s huge fan of Gary Oldman. What if next month he’s the one who get his first Oscar instead of Gary Oldman?

  17. SMDH says:

    I haven’t seen it but I’m looking forward to. Our small town has a single theatre so while we get first run movies it takes a while and our theatre manager selects those that appeal to our retirement demographic. He’s planning this one in next few weeks.

  18. Tw says:

    I finally saw it this weekend, and I completely agree with your assessment. Great performances, problematic, shoddy script. That being said, I could watch the entire thing all over again just to see the scene with the priest. That felt good.

  19. Lila says:

    This reminds me of last year There’s probably going to be a huge pushback against 3 Billboards in the coming weeks. A La La Land-level pushback. Remember when it was all about La La Land and then Moonlight just snuck in on them at the Oscars. That again is going to happen either Lady Bird or Shape of Water or Mud bound will win for best picture.

  20. Lizzie says:

    Frances McDormand is starting to bug me. i get that her f*ck it attitude is supposed to be her thing but for some reason – she is grating on my one nerve. if you’re going to be holier than thou – say something meaningful.

  21. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m liking the diversified comments without the harpoons. Art and entertainment are as subjective as they are objective. Our influences, current social and political climates and environmental landscapes all play their own part in what moves us. Being able to separate components takes some thoughtful consideration and self discipline.

  22. cleveland girl says:

    I didn’t see the movie and don’t know much about it…but WHAT THE F is going on in these pictures??? It looks like a bunch of drunks hanging out at an afterparty somewhere. Downright weird.

  23. Valiantly Varnished says:

    I guess I will raise my hand and say that I actually liked it. I love how costume-y and over the top it is. This would have been great for the Cannes Film Festival.

  24. KBB says:

    It lost the PGA which is typically a predictor for Best Picture. At this point, it’s still a toss up between The Shape of Water and Three Billboards. Frances and Sam are locks for Oscars though. GDT will take Best Director.

    • Mina says:

      I think you’re right. Although I fear that the Shape of Water could fall into the Gravity pit. Remember that movie also won the PGA (tied with 12 years a slave) and then won tons of Oscars, including Best Director, but lost Best Picture? I suspect this year we might have a repeat of last, that is, Del Toro will win for BD but not BP. I love Three Billboards a lot, but I actually would prefer The Shape of Water to win, if only to shake things up a little and reivindicate genre movies.

  25. msd says:

    I haven’t seen the film so I can’t comment on it but I’m pleased at least that the two current Oscar front runners – Three Billboards and Shape of Water – have female leads because the BP stats on that front are terrible. That’s nothing against CMBYN or Get Out (the Oscars is also very white and very straight) but male lead stories are always the ones considered ‘important’. McDormand and Hawkins aren’t co leads either, and both are aged over 40 too. It’s pretty rare.

    Of course, they could turn around and give it to Dunkirk …

  26. Patty says:

    I hated the movie. Hated! I hated the fact that Sam Rockwell’s character (an officer of the law) was able to brutally beat a kid and suffer no consequences (and no being in the police station while it was firebombed) was not a consequence.

    I hated that her coworker was literally thrown and jail for simply associating with a white woman that the town police had an issue with and then that storyline was just dropped.

    There were so many better movies this year! I don’t understand the Hollywood hard on for this movie. I really don’t get it. In a world where The Shape of Water, Call Me…., Get Out, Molly’s Game, LadyBird (which I didn’t like that much), and a host of other fantastic amazing movies came out…. Three Billboards is getting all of the attention. I don’t understand it.

    • Abbess Tansy says:

      I hated this movie too for some of what you outlined. Somehow I didn’t mind Frances’ performance too much. But I feel like this movie gives racists an excuse to be who they are. This movie is not a mirror to show them what they’re doing is wrong.

  27. wood dragon says:

    Get out might push ahead at the last minute with the Oscars. I am also rooting for Dunkirk.

  28. LittlefishMom says:

    The short answer, no. I like her but she’s looks like she’s circling the drain.

    • Patty says:

      Agreed. FM looks ridiculous. Oh look at me I’m so edgy; let me put on this fancy dress but show how edgy I am by not making any kind of effort anywhere else.

      It’s like she’s trying to have it both ways, look at me I’m so above it all! I don’t care. But you do care.

  29. Patty says:

    I forgot to include earlier – the awful accent of Ms. Cornish was the worst. Every time she talked I couldn’t tell if she was trying to cover up her Aussie accent with a Southern one, trying to hide her accent and failing, or doing something else entirely. It was sooo distracting.

    Woody Harrelson was the best thing about that movie in my opinion. I really wanted Sally Hawkins or Saorise Ronan (sic) or even Jessica Chastain to win this year. For supporting I wanted Defoe. But it’s looking more and more like that’s nit going to happen.


  30. SJF says:

    Don’t disagree with your thoughts, but purely in defense of McDormand — she played a woman I have never seen onscreen, she played it with her characteristic fearlessness and she played it with intelligence, complexity and — given the wild fury fueling the character — love.

    I was mesmerized watching her play a role that showed that much unabashed power.

    The rest of the film, yes, had gaping holes the size of the Grand Canyon.

    McDormand was playing Greek tragedy. No one else was. That should be a problem, but damn she was fascinating.

    • Mina says:

      Her character is despicable in many ways, yet you can’t help but admire that part of her that doesn’t give a damn about anything anymore. And those scenes in which she actually lets the grief express itself in a different way than pure rage… ugh, it really got to me. She deserves any award she wins.

  31. K.T. says:

    Ok, I can’t help this comment. This movie sounds like a filmic version ‘considered’ Trump voter op-ed! Lol *ducks head *

    I’m always so late to comment that by the time I will arch this movie we’ll be two hundreds comments in! But, I’ll see it and check back in. Short point, Get Out was magnificent. Truly, it was groundbreaking. The film took tropes about horror and thriller movies and twisted inside a rubik’s cube about societal and filmic value systems around race and power.
    I’d study it in film classes, like we did about lots of films!

  32. Anare says:

    Not every movie needs to have a huge socio/political impact. It’s just a story. It’s not trying to solve world hunger and cure cancer.

    The message I took away was that Mildred was a toxic person who chased away everyone she loved with her nasty behavior. She was tortured inside because she knew what she was doing but seemed incapable of stopping it. She had goodness in her heart but it was buried deep. I disagree with the person who said there were no consequences to the character’s bad behavior. There were indeed consequences! It just wasn’t so formulaic that a bad action would be followed by the character going to jail. Some times the worse prison is the one inside their own head.

  33. Tallia says:

    Nope. Nope. Nope. Mudbound? Yes, Three Billboards? No. MEH.