There are supposed to be at least five stages of grief, but Mildred Hayes is stuck at number two — rage. She is out to get a certain transgressor and she’s willing to take on the town’s law enforcement — and the town itself! The plot is too good to spoil here, but let me make a couple of comments about the value of the movie.
There’s an art experience here that everybody can relate to. It involves the viewpoints of the good, the evil, the young, the old, the comfortable and the discomforted. My movie buddy and I picked the movie of course because of its star, Frances McDormand. Just as we expected, she is absolutely wonderful as Mildred Hayes. The surprise for us was how terrific the entire supporting cast was. Woody Harrelson was far better as a caring and sympathetic man than he usually is as a rough and tumble sardonic stereotype cowboy, even though he’s still, as he often is, a cop.
Best of all is the villain, well, sort of a villain, played by Sam Rockwell. We usually see Rockwell playing characters who are insane, but they are usually cleverly so. In “Three Billboards,” he’s not only insane but also cruel, chauvinistic, and stupid. The actor carries it off beautifully. His lowly character becomes, I think, the best example of the many examples that show what this fine movie is about — being fully human.