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aka - Thelma & Louise
USA 1991
Directed by
Ridley Scott
128 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Thelma And Louise

Ridley Scott’s polished direction, superb cinematography by Adrian Biddle and strong performance by the entire cast make this iconic film a pleasure. It is however the Academy Award-winning “feminist” script by Callie Khouri that established its main claim to fame.  Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon play the title characters, the former a party animal trapped in an unhappy marriage to prize jerk (played perfectly by Christopher McDonald), the other, a restrained even uptight, single waitress. They leave their Arkansas homes and head off for a girl’s weekend away but things go horribly wrong at their first stop after Thelma’s drunken bar-room flirting goes too far and Louise shoots a lout who tries to rape her friend. Figuring that they were never going to see justice in this redneck partt of the  world the women decide to head for Mexico in their green vintage T-Bird convertible.

Thelma & Louise is a stylish road-cum-buddy movie with excellent use made of locations as the women move from emotional containment to liberation as they progress from cramped interiors of their home and workplace to the wide open spaces of Montana. That is exactly where the film has problems as a feminist statement, for it is pure escapism and hardly offers any constructive option for women on a real social level. Yes, the gals get to payback a number of male dickheads including, other than the rapist, a narcissistic highway patrolman (who surprisingly does not know the women are fugitives) and a yobbo truck driver but it is evident from the get-go that these women are digging their own graves and if Thelma is a bird-brain, Louise isn’t much smarter, she just doesn’t have the same appetite for men. The famous Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid-like closing shot that leaves the two women hanging in space over a canyon may be emotionally affirmative in a glib “sistas are doin' it for themselves” way but it hardly has the substantial political response to rape found in, for instance, The Accused (1988). Notwithstanding, it is an entertaining movie that has garnered a lofty position in the pop cultural canon, not least because it was Brad Pitt's first big screen appearance.

 

 

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