RETRO REVIEW: “Thelma & Louise”


Ridley Scott’s acclaimed road-trip crime film “Thelma & Louise” got here out 31 years in the past this month. And after watching it once more for the primary time in nicely over a decade, I used to be blown away by how nicely it nonetheless holds up. With its sturdy female-driven story, “Thelma & Louise” nonetheless resonates immediately. And whereas it’s characterization of males can nonetheless be over-the-top to the purpose of cartoonish, that’s kinda the purpose in a film about ladies taking cost of their very own destiny in such a male-dominated society.

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“Thelma & Louise” got here out on March 24, 1991 and was successful each critically and commercially. It will go on to earn six Academy Award nominations together with two Finest Actress nods for its stars, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis. Ridley Scott was additionally nominated for guiding. The film’s lone Oscar win was for its screenplay written by Callie Khouri. It was Khouri’s first function movie script. What a approach to make a splash.

“Thelma & Louise” was adopted by some controversy on the time. It confronted a number of accusations from these calling the film “anti-male” for its depictions of males. However once more, the film is a parable with a vital level to make. And specializing in the film’s generally exaggerated portrayal of males as an alternative of the message being conveyed is doing it a disservice. And it’s not like each single male presence within the movie is decidedly unfavorable. I like what Khouri mentioned in response to the controversy, “When you assume it’s anti-male, you’re figuring out with the improper character.”

The story facilities round two greatest pals from Arkansas caught of their dreary mundane lives. Louise (Susan Sarandon) is a waitress who’s drained ready for her on-again, off-again boyfriend Jimmy (Michael Madsen) to commit. Thelma (Geena Davis) is a housewife married to a slimeball automobile salesman named Darryl (a hilariously despicable Christopher McDonald). Louise has deliberate a weekend fishing journey only for the 2 pals, however Thelma is scared to carry it as much as her self-obsessed husband. After yet one more Darryl tantrum, Thelma decides she doesn’t want his permission. She leaves him a observe subsequent to his TV dinner and calls Louise.

The 2 pack their luggage and head out in Louise’s 1966 Thunderbird convertible for a road-trip that can change their lives. It begins once they cease to stretch their legs at a roadside honky-tonk the place Thelma catches the attention of the overly flirty Harlan (Timothy Carhart). However what begins as a couple of drinks and a few dancing finally ends up with Harlan beating and making an attempt to rape Thelma within the car parking zone. Louise finds them and shoots Harlan useless with a pistol Thelma swiped from Darryl’s bedside drawer.

Thelma desires to go on to the police, however the cynical Louise (for causes that turn out to be clearer later within the film) doesn’t assume the cops will consider them, particularly because the whole membership noticed Thelma and Harlan throughout one another on the dance ground. In order that they go on the run, driving into Oklahoma and plotting a path to Mexico that doesn’t embody Texas. Why not Texas you ask? That too turns into clearer because the story progresses.

A very good on-the-lam film wants an excellent pursuer and “Thelma & Louise” has one in Harvey Keitel. He performs Hal Slocumb, an Arkansas State Police detective with a coronary heart. He’s genuinely involved about Thelma and Louise and does his greatest to seek out them and produce them in earlier than issues get out of hand. Keitel has such a pure charisma and he’s such a pleasant match right here.

And naturally there’s Brad Pitt within the supporting function that put him on the map. He performs a gentlemanly and handsome younger cowboy named J.D. who hitches a journey with Thelma and Louise as they’re crossing Oklahoma. It’s not a very nice efficiency, however I don’t assume it’s the efficiency that earned him essentially the most consideration (when you get what I imply).

Nonetheless, with out query the celebs are Sarandon and Davis. Flipping gender roles for a road-trip buddy film was actually important. However this isn’t merely a case of two ladies merely mimicking what males have accomplished in comparable films. Sarandon and Davis make for a spirited duo they usually carry persona, grit, and humor their roles. And so they actually get to have enjoyable as soon as the second half kicks in. “We’re fugitives now. Let’s begin behaving like that.”

Whereas there’s a actual weight to the story itself, the 2 leads, Khouri’s straight-shooting script, and Ridley Scott’s stellar course provides it room to be humorous, heat, and even somewhat loopy. A number of the male caricatures are somewhat too goofy (see the chauvinistic truck driver who wears out his welcome after his second look). And the ending, although unquestionably iconic, has by no means totally felt proper to me. I actually like the selection and I even just like the freeze-frame. However the fast fade to white ends issues on such a hurried observe. We’re seeing credit earlier than the burden of what has occurred can actually set in. Nonetheless, it wraps issues up in essentially the most becoming manner, and it provides the film the form of ultimate punch that individuals are nonetheless speaking about immediately.

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