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McDormand shines in black comedy

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Preston Barta

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (4 of 5 stars) - Perhaps the most relevant movie of 2017, Martin McDonagh's well-written and performed Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (yeah, try remembering that when getting tickets at the box office) delves into the story of one mother’s (a commanding Frances McDormand) plight to have her town’s law enforcement (including Woody Harrelson and an award-worthy Sam Rockwell) break their lazy routine and do something about the rape and murder of her daughter. 

Sam Rockwell, left, and Frances McDormand in a scene from <i>Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.</i>AP
Sam Rockwell, left, and Frances McDormand in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
AP

As strenuous and difficult as the material may seem, McDonaugh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) writes the film with side-splitting dialogue that both strikes truth and flashes your smile at the screen. Whether it's the way McDormand’s character schools a local pastor about the church's role in all this, or Rockwell’s lack of intelligence when it comes to doing his job, you'll be quoting and replaying the film in your head later. Though the plot gets a little too coincidental toward its finale, there are wonderfully rich characters you feel like you know personally and an awareness raised by its story that will motivate you to take action and do more than pray on it. Rated R, 115 minutes. At the Angelika Film Center in Dallas and Cinemark West Plano.

FEATURED IMAGE: Frances McDormand, left, and Woody Harrelson in a scene from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. (Fox Searchlight via AP).