Tuesday, February 06, 2018
Three Billboards and Redemption
"and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones
in the name of a disciple
—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”
It's exasperating here in Belleville when it comes to films. For months on end there are no decent movies at the local cineplex. We rely on the Empire Theatre and Quinte Film Alternative for thought-provoking films. Then, it's Oscar season and we are inundated with the top nominated films. We ended up watching five movies in five days, binge-watching at its finest. They were, in order of viewing:
The Shape of Water
Five Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
All of them were worthwhile, and they were all so different, which makes for great entertainment. Five Billboards is perhaps the most intriguing because it has elicited such strong reaction at both ends of the spectrum. It has a bunch of Oscar nominations and Frances McDormand is powerful as the central character. But it has been criticized for choppy writing, for being tone-deaf about racism in America, and for not offering a whiff of redemption in what is a harsh story. One reviewer describes it as a "hot mess."
I would disagree on the observation about redemption, although this tale of a mother's fierce and unrelenting anger after the violent death of her daughter is challenging. The maligned local sheriff reaches back from the grave to offer solace and understanding to the grieving parent. He also sees the possibilities for the detestable deputy who appears to be hatred embodied.
I give you a spoiler alert at this juncture. Perhaps the most moving scene in the film for me is when a young man who has been savaged by the deputy realizes that the person in the next hospital bed is the man who attacked him. While his emotions are in turmoil he still offers a glass of juice to his incapacitated assailant. It is a moment of grace in a story where there is very little of it.
Have you seen Five Billboards? What did you think? Go see 'em all!