If you have not already seen “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” you should. More than just a movie with an interesting plot garnering rave reviews since its release in recent weeks, the dark comedy is also an examination into the human psyche including how we interact, judge and communicate with each people. As we prepare to enter a new year, it is something worth examining.
Quick plot with no spoilers: Frances McDormand is Mildred Hayes, a woman whose daughter we learn right up front has been abducted, raped and brutally murdered within the past year. Frustrated with the lack of progress in the investigation by local police, she rents three billboards in succession that ask, Burma Shave style, why Chief William Willoughby, played by Woody Harrelson and, in turn, Deputy James Dixon (Sam Rockwell) have not done more.
The film examines the personalities, motivations, failings and human frailties of all of the characters focusing largely on how they treat or mistreat one another and why. There is no right or wrong here – only grey. Self-absorption, insecurity and disrespect tempered with eventual communication, understanding and redemption.
It is impossible to leave “Three Billboards” without thinking about how we treat others and how others treat us day to day. And while it is often hard to understand the motivations of others or even our own, it is always best when we can try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and work to understand both where they are coming from and where you have been. Why ask why? Exactly. Because that’s life and a life lesson for 2018.