Frances McDormand will almost certainly win the Oscar for "Three Billboards Outside Etting, Missouri" and her performance is unquestionably worthy of honor.
But there are three important things you need to know about "Three Billboards" and here they are:
1) The movie is deeply and darkly nihilistic.
There is no message here -- nothing to take home. Indeed, there is no takeaway of value that any reasonable or sane person can discern. This movie is thoroughly existential in that it depicts life as relentlessly dreary, absurd and meaningless.
2) The movie is a piercing indictment of America in general and middle America in particular.
If you still doubted that Hollywood truly hates America, this film should put those doubts to rest once and for all. It paints middle America and the people in it as hollow, dumb, hateful, destructive, vile, profane, dishonest, lecherous, amoral and, in their default mode, just plain evil. Cynical, you say? No. In fact, cynicism would actually elevate this tale.
3) The film is hard to take and tough to watch.
If you enjoy watching people spat upon, insulted, mutilated, nearly burned to death, bludgeoned, endlessly incarcerated, tortured, abused and debased, then this is the movie for you. There's plenty of all of that. In fact, before the show even begins (if we are to believe the vacuous plot) a young woman is raped while dying.
There are excellent performances throughout the movie. In addition to McDormand, other standouts include Caleb Landry Jones, Sam Rockwell and Lucas Hedges. But the movie itself is utterly vacant as it has virtually no redeemable characters, no semblance of hope or optimism and, finally, no resolution.
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