Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures
In a just world, Frances McDormand would have the cult-like adoration other living legends like Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren do. Her performances are consistently things of brilliance. When the movies are weak, she’s the best thing about them; when they’re strong, it just makes her up her game.
Between her performances in Blood Simple, Mississippi Burning, Fargo, Almost Famous, Wonder Boys, North Country, and Olive Kitteridge, it was incredibly unlikely she could give a performance that surpassed them all. Then Martin McDonagh wrote Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Rotten Tomatoes is a fickle creature. It’s easy to think that because the site aggregates all the major reviews for a film and give a percentage of good reviews, it’s an accurate read on a movie’s reception.
Here’s the thing, though: Since they only attach a “fresh” or “rotten” label to each review, scores can look inflated when people universally land somewhere near the middle.
If 100% of critics feel a movie’s just not quite good enough to recommend, it gets a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Conversely, all it takes is every critic saying “it’s not bad” or “it’s worth watching once” for a movie to look like cinematic perfection.
Hey, unrelated question: Did you see Lady Bird got 100% on Rotten Tomatoes?
Image: Roadside Attractions
At the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month, Jimmy Fallon described Manchester by the Sea as “the only thing from 2016 that was more depressing than 2016.”
Certainly, the fact it’s centered around no fewer than four deaths makes its position as one of the frontrunners for the Best Picture Oscar in a year so packed with notable deaths rather fitting.
With an unflinching stare of despair and pain, Manchester by the Sea is a gruelling movie. It’s also a great one.