Thelma and Louise
- Susan Sarandon as Louise Sawyer
- Geena Davis as Thelma Dickinson
- Harvey Keitel as Detective Hal Slocumb
- Michael Madsen as Jimmy Lennox
- Brad Pitt as J.D
- Christopher McDonald as Darryl Dickinson
The story of two best friends going on a vacation that turns into something completely different and ending in an unforgettable finale, Thelma and Louise struck a chord with many upon its release in 1991, maybe because of its road movie revamping and its new female spin on a male dominated genre. Whatever your view on it, there can be no debating the amount of buzz and arguments it has caused over the years since it’s release. Anyway, back to the review of it.
Thelma Dickinson is a meek, put upon housewife whose husband controls everything she does, her best friend Louise Sawyer is a tough-talking, world-weary waitress whose unexplained trauma that happened years prior has made her that way. Both bored in their uneventful and small Arkansas town, Louise suggests going on a trip, just the two of them. They both decide to do it and along the way stop at a bar, planning to leave after a short break. A suave man named Harlan begins to flirt with Thelma and eventually gets the timid housewife drunk. When she goes outside for air, his charming demeanor changes to violent as he tries to brutally rape her. Louise, stops him with the aid of a gun and threatens him. After yelling obscenities at her, Louise shoots him dead. Fearing the consequences of the incident, the duo go on the lam in an attempt to escape imprisonment, and so begins a thrilling journey of self-discovery and the power of friendship, that involves theft, guns and a spectacular chase through the Grand Canyon.
What is so interesting upon viewing Thelma and Louise, is its merging of various genres and its dusting off of old clichés in the form of new ones. At the heart of it, it is a road movie, but it also includes many instances of crime, action and drama. This is all handled under the thoughtful direction of Ridley Scott. Although I wouldn’t expect Scott to make a film such as this, he actually pulls off the film admirably and memorably. The Oscar-winning script by Callie Khouri furthers our engagement, emotional tie and understanding of the women and gets to the heart of their characters. Credit should also be given to Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, who both create convincingly outstanding portrayals as the eponymous best friends. All the way through the film, they anchor the proceedings and keep us watching as the women try to find a way to escape imprisonment whilst driving through the twists and turns of the American frontier. Harvey Keitel is also used to great effect as a sympathetic detective, who tries numerous times to persuade the women to stop running. Film buffs should also look out for a young Brad Pitt as a charismatic thief who Thelma takes a shine to after picking him up.
Debate rages on as to whether the film is man-hating, that its depiction of crime is one of a positive nature and that if it shows women in a positive or negative light. The film is also a hot topic when it comes to the ending, which I won’t divulge in case people reading it haven’t seen it. Those who have will know exactly what I’m talking about. Arguments made against it have labelled it flawed and cop-out, whilst others have disagreed. All of this aside, Thelma and Louise makes for memorable viewing because of its re-writing of genre and gender favorability, its title characters that are brought vividly to life by Sarandon and Davis and its mix of humour, drama and emotion.