So as my recuperating seems to need to continue, I spent the afternoon watching one of this year’s Oscar nominated movies, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”
If you don’t like movies with foul-language and can’t look past that to an investment in the story and characters, this movie is not for you.
If you can and your focus this Lent is on topics like atonement, love, mercy and forgiveness – done in the quirky, character-driven movies that draw Oscar talents like Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell – then you might want to give it a look if you haven’t yet seen it.
The premise is a sad one. Mildred, the McDormand character, has lost her daughter to murder in an especially grisly manner. Months have passed and there has been no news from local Ebbing police.
So Mildred, driving toward home on a local road that is little traveled due to the new freeway, notices three dilapidated billboards in a row and inspiration strikes.
She decides she will rent them and put pressure on the local police chief ( Woody Harrelson) by asking why her daughter’s killer has not yet been arrested.
From this act all manner of anger, hatred, bias, grief, stereotyping, revenge, love, mercy, kindness, forgiveness and acceptance ensue in very sad and poignant ways.
It is not a movie with a neat ending. In fact, it is an ending that may be morally questionable depending on what Mildred and Deputy Dixon (Rockwell) decide in future to do.
And maybe you have to be in a Lenten frame of mind to see in it what I saw.
Humanity in all its forms of messiness. And assurance that God is at work in mysterious ways to heal us in its midst.