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Thelma & Louise review – the film is a milestone for women emancipation

Thelma & Louise review – the film is a milestone for women emancipation





We deserve to watch classic films several times because they will always be a good entertainment experience. Today I decided to rewatch the cult film “Thelma & Louise”, released in 1991, after many years since I watched it for the first time. I am writing down a review about this the road and drama film, brilliantly created by Ridley Scott, and scripted by Callie Khouri. The film gave a chance to two stars such as Geena Davis (Thelma) and Susan Sarandon (Louise) to present all their talent in unbelievable performances and their beautiful chemistry on the big screen.

The plot follows the misfortunes of two friends from Arkansas who decide to go on holiday for a weekend to get rid of their problems, but embark on a journey full of unforeseen situations. Thelma lives a naive housewife married to Darryl (Christopher McDonald), a controlling asshole that doesn’t respect her. Louise is an independent woman who works as a waitress in a very American-style cafeteria. She has a troubled relationship with Jimmy (Michael Madsen), a musician who is always on the road.

 On the way, they go to a roadhouse bar, where Thelma meets and dances with a flirting stranger, Harlan (Timothy Carhart). When he takes her out of the parking lot to get some fresh air, he starts kissing her and taking off her clothes without her consent. Thelma resists, but Harlan becomes violent and then tries to rape her. Louise finds them and threatens to shoot Harlan with the gun that Thelma brought with her. Harlan yells and says that he should have raped her. Louise shoots Harlan in the chest, killing him instantly. Horrified, Thelma takes Louise to the car and they run away.

In a motel room, they discuss how to handle the situation. Thelma wants to go to the police, but Louise fears that no one will believe Thelma’s allegation of attempted rape since Thelma was drinking and dancing with Harlan, and they would be charged with murder. They decide to flee, but Louise insists that they travel from Oklahoma to Mexico without going through Texas. Something happened to Louise in Texas several years earlier, and Thelma suspects that it was something similar to what happened to Harlan. Heading west, the women encounter an attractive young hiker, J.D. (Brad Pitt), who Thelma quickly falls in love with, and Thelma convinces Louise to gives him a lift. Louise contacts Jimmy and asks him to transfer his savings to her. When she goes to get the money, she finds out that Jimmy came to deliver the money in person, and the two spend the night together. Jimmy proposes Louise, but she refuses. Meanwhile, Thelma invites J.D.to her bedroom, and they sleep together. 

The next morning, Thelma leaves J.D. in her motel room to find Louise downstairs for breakfast, and when they return, they discover that J.D. stole Louise’s savings and ran away. Louise is upset, so a guilty Thelma takes over and later steals a nearby convenience store. 

Meanwhile, the FBI is closer to catching the fugitives after witnesses at the bar saw Louise’s convertible Ford Thunderbird in 1966 running out of the parking lot the night of the shooting. Arkansas State Police investigator Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel), leading the investigation, questions both J.D., who was caught, and Jimmy, and taps the phone line at Darryl’s home. He finds out that Louise had been raped years ago in Texas, so he sympathises with her situation and understands why they didn’t report Harlan’s murder to the authorities. During some brief telephone conversations with Louise, he expresses his sympathy but is unsuccessful in his attempts to persuade her to surrender.

Thelma and Louise promise that they will continue together. After a few situations on the roads, Thelma and Louise are finally cornered by the authorities just a hundred metres from the edge of the Grand Canyon. Hal arrives at the scene, but he is refused the chance to make one last attempt to convince the women to surrender. Thelma proposes that they “continue” instead of being captured and spending the rest of their lives in jail. Louise asks Thelma if she is sure, and Thelma says yes. They kiss, Louise steps on the gas, and they accelerate over the cliff as Hal chases them desperately on foot.

Thelma & Louise became a milestone movie for discussing the sexist and chauvinistic behaviour of white men, in American society, a behaviour that was also reflected around the world. Unfortunately, the plot of this 1991 film remains current. Women are struggling against old cultural conceptions that allow men to assault them. Their fight for dignity, equality and respect, is still a daily routine struggle as we can see on website news or watching series such as “I may destroy you”. 

Geena Davis played his best role in his career as Thelma in the cinema, although the way the character is created causes me discomfort, in portraying Thelma as a woman who needs a man to make some sense in her life. On the other hand, Louise shows the feminine strength and independence to break with the sexist social standards instituted in society. Louise is my favourite character for sure, and it’s played by one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood, who I assume I am a huge fan. Brad Pitt in his role in a movie did very well playing the seductive thief, with that thick accent and a mocking way was irresistible.

The script is a great asset of the film, bringing an original idea and story that it received and won awards ” for Best Original Screenplay”. “Thelma and Louise” has a narrative about women emancipation that makes us reflect, nowadays, about the roles that were determined for women to stage in society: the “supporting roles”, always in the shade of the existence around patriarchy. The script showed that women could be different, even, they had to pay the price for that.

Overall, the film received several nominations and won awards, such as eight nominations for the “45th British Academy Film Awards”, including “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Actress” (Davis and Sarandon) and “Best Original Screenplay”. It also was nominated for Best Dramatic Film, Best Actress (Davis and Sarandon) and won Best Original Screenplay (Khouri) at 49 Golden Globe. At the 64th edition of the Oscar, the movie was nominated in the categories of “Best Director”, “Best Actress” (Davis and Sarandon), “Best Photography”, “Best Editing” and “Best Original Screenplay” that it won the awards.

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I am a script and creative writer, journalist, producer, and marketing content developer with over 9 years of experience in Media (TV / Film Production), Communication, Journalism and Marketing. I worked for companies such as MTV, Animal Planet, Band, Discovery and, Fremantle Media. I am from Brazil, but I've been living in Dublin, Ireland, since 2017. I am also maniac for entertainment and pop culture.
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