Three Billboards won big at the BAFTA’S, and like every presenter and awardee they embraced Time’s Up. They were able to draw on the relevance of the film to the movement. And so it is, but it reaches further. It‘s a reflection of America at this moment in time, almost every aspect of its society.
Frances McDormand’s Mildred represents all the rage in America. The reactivity of the town, jumping to incorrect conclusions is America. Mildred’s own questionable actions, the resulting craziness, and the hopeless situation of Woody Harrelson’s Willoughby so he has to end it all, is America. Mildred’s ex, through his relationship with a nineteen-year old, represents the infantile nature of society. He knows it’s messed up but he can’t stop. Nor can we.
Then there’s Dixon, the racist, misogynist, and ultimately confused man egged on by his mother to devastating effect. Her ignorance and dominance could only be one character in the US political landscape. She is Donald Trump wreaking havoc with her words.
Yet there is a modicum of hope. Where we couldn’t see it, Willoughby could. He seemed to understand the madness of it all, the pain. He rose above it. He saw the good in Dixon that was unfathomable. His time was short with us and without him this town spiralled into madness and we were lost. To half of America and most of the world, it is the loss of Obama from the political stage. Like Willoughby he may have been impotent because of the attitudes and machinations of his society, but he carried a torch of decency.
We are all lost in this moment in time, but we are also in process, and maybe like Mildred and Dixon we will find a way to accommodate our pain in lieu of a happy ending.