Although Three Billboards generally received high ratings, when it first came out, a group of audience members and critics who should have known better lost their collective minds. What, a film with some racist characters set in the U.S. South that was not About! Racism!? No black central character? No unmitigated baddies? No courtroom scene catharsis, like in A Time to Kill and To Kill a Mockingbird? While never quite admitting it, they were expecting predictable "good for you" Oscar bait. Another group refused to see it at all, because they assumed it WAS classic Oscar bait, and a simple-minded guilt trip about racism. Because Martin McDonagh, author of the Tony Award nominated The Pillowman and director of In Bruges is all about Oscar bling. Honestly, the slightest familiarity with his work would have told them to expect the unexpected. So if that sounds intriguing, pack those preconceptions away, and enjoy the brilliant Three Billboards. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell won Academy Awards, and they were well deserved.

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