Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Life’s a Bitch, but Good is a Choice

Intro by Maria

Trigger Warning

Before we get into the next episode of Peculiar Picture Show, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to warn our listeners out there that this episode talks in depth about potentially disturbing situations, like rape, suicide, and domestic abuse, so please feel free to skip those parts if you need to. 

Because we are a podcast about mental health, it can be hard not to talk about these issues, but we also want to give our listeners a chance to skip parts or an episode that may cause further harm.

Thank you, and if you listen, enjoy the show.


This week’s episode happens to drop during Thanksgiving week of 2019, which means the holidays are near. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some notably bad holidays, including bad Thanksgivings, but the Thanksgiving of 2018 was a pretty miserable one for me. And during that time last year, I watched this movie—the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It blew me away. And it was also torture, because I had watched the movie by myself, and every extraverted thinker’s nightmare is that you have just watched a really great movie by yourself, with no one else around, and you won’t get to talk about it. Needless to say, I forced my boyfriend to watch it when I got back into town, and I got some of it out. But I really don’t think it was enough. I mean, I really just wanted to talk about this film, which means I was delighted when we used the random number generator to choose this beautiful film. And during a Thanksgiving, nonetheless, almost one year later. 

So in the film, Frances McDormand is the protagonist, Mildred Hayes, whose daughter was murdered and raped—well, raped while dying. We know this because Mildred rents three billboards that cover her story. They read: “Raped While Dying”, “Still No Arrests?”, and “How Come, Chief Willoughby?” The police and the town all have their own opinions about the billboards, and then Chief Willoughby, played by Woody Harrelson, dies—and that just complicates everything. The film is riddled with unexpected turns, beautiful nuggets of prose, and compelling characters—it’s just such an elegant way to tell a story.

If you haven’t seen this film, go out and watch it. Unless I just ruined it for you. And if I did, then I’m sorry. It’s impossible to do these things without spoilers. So, how about you just get over it and watch the movie, then come back to tune in to this next episode of Peculiar Picture Show.

Show Summary

Overall Thoughts: Frances McDormand was made for this role

M: Based off director’s experience in Texas; Mildred written for Frances McDormand; Academy Awards winnings; my choice; third time seeing this film; a film that fit its time; set during Easter Sunday??

B: first time seeing this film; loved it; some comedy, but not a comedy drama; Frances McDormand hesitant to take this role because of age questions

Like: Beautiful sadness, real characters, commented on the nature of good vs evil

M: Everything!; movie is beautifully sad; real, raw, complicated, and flawed characters; Mildred’s characterization of being hard and tough but also incredible caring 

B: Performances amazing; writing was impressive; movie left me thinking for a long time; police station and ending scenes really affected me; not really a villain vs. hero/good vs. evil film, and that’s awesome

Dislike: Not much

M: Not much; scene with slippers confuses me every time. 

B: Not much

Mental Health: Deals with grief and domestic abuse, makes a strong comment on the nature of good people and bad people

M: Grief, domestic abuse

B: Good vs. evil


B: This is not a movie about heroes and villains, it’s a movie about choices—individual choices. … A ‘bad person’ can choose at any time to do good things, and a ‘good person’ can choose at any time to do bad things. No matter what kind of person we are, or people think we are, we all have that choice every day.

M: Everyone in here is a real, flawed person. Mildred is not a saint—that’s not what the film wants you to think. Chief Willoughby’s complicated, they’re all complicated, they’re all so flawed. We have Dixon, who’s a racist and a homophobe, but Mildred also has problems.

Next Episode

We’ll be taking a break with normal episodes for the month of December, although we may have a mini-episode. We’ll be back with full episodes starting on January 11.

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