Admiring Women in Entertainment — Thelma and Louise

How fictional female characters define dynamic duo friendships.  Graphic by: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

While I’ve exclusively reviewed films that are currently out in cinemas, I’ve decided to make a special exception this time and review a classic, so to change things up but more importantly because March is Women’s History Month. 

“Thelma and Louise” was released back in 1991, directed by Ridley Scott, in something which is out of his typical element as he’s more noted for directing films with more grandeur like “Alien,” “Blade Runner” and “Gladiator.” His involvement though comes from him loving the film’s script, which was written by screenwriter and feminist Callie Khouri. 

The story focuses on two best friends, Thelma, played by Geena Davis, a reserved housewife trapped in a loveless marriage, and Louise, played by Susan Sarandon, a woman who is more assertive and independent, as they embark on a weekend road trip together. However, things get very sour when Thelma is almost sexually assaulted by a man at a bar, and Louise intervenes and ends up killing him, causing the both of them to go on the run to Mexico. While on their way there, they are pursued by a detective, played by Harvey Keitel, as he tries to piece together what happened.

When asked about writing for the film, Khouri went on to say that she had the most fun in her life doing it. This was mainly because this was a platform from which she could express her ideas freely without any means of censorship to block her, and this can be seen through the mature and uncomfortable topics that she goes over in the film, which is what makes it so impactful. 

She also tangles around a lot with themes of female empowerment as it involves Thelma breaking out of her restrictive lifestyle and evaluating women’s roles in society, and her perspective on it makes it wholly unique and work miles better than if it were written by a man.

Now let’s get more into the film itself. To start off, the characters and performances that accompany them are fantastic. Over the course of the film, the audience gets to see how the titular characters evolve overtime, as they start out as what appears to be typical women archetypes. However, as things progress the layers of their characters are peeled back more, as the audience learns about why they previously acted a certain way or why they changed so drastically. 

The supporting performances are also great too. Most notably, this features Brad Pitt in one of his earliest film roles, as he plays an attractive hitchhiker by the name of J.D who travels with Thelma and Louise and ultimately takes advantage of them by stealing their money. That’s also a common trope within the film as during various points in the film, as most of the men they meet are antagonistic and hinders their progress, and it’s something that bothers me a bit however there’s a workaround to this. 

Earlier I mentioned Harvey Keitel’s character, and he’s important to the film not only because of his relevance to the plot, but rather because he meant to represent that not all men in that world are selfish and cruel, as he’s sympathetic towards Thelma and Louise and actively wants to help them, which I thought was a nice touch.

Since this is a road trip film there are a lot of landscape shots within this film. From the rural plains of Arkansas where the film starts all the way to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the vast majority of the cinematography looks great, especially when we see Thelma and Louise tear up the scenery in their 66’ Thunderbird. The soundtrack is also solid, as it features a plethora of country songs, which to be honest I’m not the biggest fan of but I’d imagine others would enjoy more. Famous composer Hans Zimmer also does the score, and I didn’t notice it being used a lot but when it was there I knew, and it is great. 

My only major complaint about the film however is its ending. I feel that it ends too abruptly and gives the audience little time to process what just occurred, it’s just *BAM* credits. Still though, it’s iconic and I can’t argue with that.

I’d give this movie nine 66’ Thunderbirds out of ten, while I have some minor complaints this is still an extremely fun film to watch. Watch the film and see what you think of it!