Mount St. Joseph University

Film Review: Daily Double - ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ & ‘Lady Bird’

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Michael Mullin

File Under: dateline, film review

Two of the best films of the year, as far as I am concerned. These films have just recently been released and shoved out to the public, and they could not come at a better time. The subject matter that is the focus of the films relates so much to what this country is going through in regards to rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault cases springing up all around the nation.

On the other hand, the subject of future comes up: figuring out life and pursuing the dreams that we all have, locked away down deep somewhere. Not just dreams either. Those secrets we hide from others so that we’re not judged, that love interest, whether gay or straight, we may hold clutched within the valves and chambers of our hearts. These two films touch on everything.

Of the two, I cannot pick a favorite. “Lady Bird” was given the highest rating ever recently on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a delectable film that makes you think about your entire life’s passion, dream, and goal all in about two hours. I found it insane how much I caught myself thinking during the film. On the other hand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was an intense thriller, a film that touched upon the very issues we face socially as Americans and basically any humane society.

I understand now why “Lady Bird” was given a score of 100 on Rotten Tomatoes. Saoirse Ronan broke and mended our hearts in “Brooklynand we all knew after walking out of that theatre that we had a future star on our hands. It almost seemed as if we were related to or acquainted with Ronan’s character in the film, Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson. The film follows a young girl about to graduate from a Sacramento, Cal., high school who makes it her goal in life to get out. To get away. To go to a college as far away as possible, no matter the cost. She’s impacted by so many experiences along the way while she’s in Sacramento that it almost makes it impossible for her to leave.

The film touches the heart of any graduating senior in America, whether that’s in high school or college, raising the idea of exploring outside the confines of the perimeter set for you during those years before undergrad or graduate school. The film hit me hard since I am preparing applications and graduate forms that will determine my future even as you read this. The two hours I took out of my day to go and see this wonderfully well-done film was worth it. I recommend all of the films I review, but this film more than any other.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”--that’s a very long title, I know. When I first saw the trailer for this film I was skeptical. Like all Coen Brother films, you’re never truly sure what the hell you’re getting yourself into when you walk into that theatre and take a seat. I have seen many of the illustrious successes that the two brothers have produced along the way. Upon the strong recommendation from a very reliable source, Caleb Corrill, and also being the adventurous film viewer that I am, I decided to give it a chance.

 My intuition got the better of me and I bought the damn ticket. I have never been happier in the aftermath of a risky purchase in my life. The film's heroine is a mother who had just recently lost her daughter and is starting to encounter pushback for her words painted on those three billboards. The challenges that she faces when she makes decisions about what to say on those three billboards is what makes the film and ties the story together. Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell give unbelievably grand performances that will leave you questioning how the world operates.

I recommend both of these films. There is something about the delivery of each of these pieces that gives the viewer a sense of duty, whatever way you perceive them. Two of the best so far, scout’s honor.