One of the pleasures of Martin McDonaugh’s new drama, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, is getting to see Frances McDormand spar with just about every other actor on screen. McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, a bereaved mother waging war on the small-town police department that’s failed to solve her daughter’s murder, as well as anyone else that dares to pass into her crosshairs. The film is basically a series of sometimes tense, sometimes funny confrontations, most of them pitting its heroine against the various townsfolk (played by the likes of Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage, and others) caught in the orbit of her righteous rage.
In this exclusive, comparatively civil clip, McDormand’s Mildred exchanges some choice words with her ex-husband, played by John Hawkes, when the two end up on separate dates at the same restaurant. It’s a classic sitcom setup, only with more bitterness and simmering contempt.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri opens in select theaters today, and will continue to roll into more cities and markets through the rest of the year. McDormand’s take-no-shit performance is worth the price of admission alone.