Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Movie Review: "Thelma & Louise" (1991)

Image Source
Movie"Thelma & Louise"
Director: Ridley Scott
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Best friends Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) plan a weekend getaway for some light fun and fishing. The two women stop at a bar for some drinks and a little dancing. When the guy Thelma was dancing with attacks her in the parking lot, nearly raping her, Louise shoots him. Not knowing what to do, the ladies go on the run to Mexico on a life changing cross-country road trip.
"Thelma & Louise" is crime drama directed by Ridley Scott, who earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on this film. It is written by Callie Khouri, who took home an Oscar statue for best screenplay. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma, a housewife with an overbearing, controlling, and seemingly philandering husband, and Susan Sarandon as Louise, a waitress with a tragic past who is Thelma's best friend. Louise has planned a weekend getaway for the two of them at a cabin by a lake where they can go fishing and have a relaxing few days away from their job and husband. On the drive to the lake, the ladies stop at a trucker bar for some drinks. A charming bar patron named Harlon, played by Timothy Carhart, buys them a few rounds and dances with Thelma for a bit. While Louise is in the bathroom, Harlon takes the drunk Thelma out to the parking lot where he smacks her around and tries to rape her. Louise catches him in the act and makes him stop at gunpoint, but when Harlon gets mouthy and vulgar, Louise shoots him, dead. Not knowing what to do and thinking the police won't believe their side of the story, they drive off and head for Mexico, and what was once supposed to be a peaceful, quiet weekend quickly turns into one full of police chases, robberies, soul searching, and a whole lot more.
Both Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon put on tremendous performances. Both women were nominated for the best actress Oscar, and deservedly so. Davis and Sarandon play polar opposites, but eventually, their personality paths cross as they are able to respect one another for the choices they have made and continue to make throughout their journey. They fight, they bicker, and they get mad at each other, but at the end of it all, they see eye to eye and have a deep, unabashed mutual love and admiration for one another. We cannot imagine anyone else playing these two roles. On their travels, Thelma and Louise cross paths with many different folk, the most notable of which is their encounter with a young, sweet-talking cowboy named J.D., played by Brad Pitt in the role that put him on Hollywood's radar.
In many ways, "Thelma & Louise" might be seen as a standard road trip film, but these women don't just go on a trip from Arkansas to Mexico. Rather, they go on a journey of self-discovery and an eventual fight for their lives and the restraints that society has placed upon them. Thelma breaks free from the shackles of oppression and control put on her by her tyrannical husband, and eventually, Louise is finally able to shake off the demons from the past that have been holding her back for so long. It's simultaneously crazy and depressing how relevant "Thelma & Louise" still is, 25 years later. The issues raised within its screenplay are still constantly being debated, questioned, and brought up in our society, especially when it comes to sexual assault and/or rape. It's utterly heartbreaking to hear these two women, who at the start of the film would not have hurt a fly, are essentially forced to go on the run just because they figured no one would believe them because Thelma danced and drank with the man who attempted to rape her. Some viewers might not interpret the film this way, but in a "blame first, ask questions later" world, well, it's not hard to connect A to B.
At the center of their trip and the ugly reasons for its derailment, "Thelma & Louise" juxtaposes their acts of crime with some truly beautiful cinematography of the southern United States as small town(s) USA are put on display in all their glory, good and bad. These towns and their twisty, winding roads lead them to desert landscapes and vast plains of rock and nothingness, which provide moments of calm and clarity before more impending storms for our two protagonists,
In the end, "Thelma & Louise" is a must see. This movie is dramatically impactful, and despite the reason why these two woman are on the run, it is still kind of fun, too. It offers both deep, emotionally moving moments and subject matter, as well as some lighthearted laughter. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon sell their friendship extremely well and have a brilliant, believable chemistry. Other parts performed by the likes of Harvey Keitel, Christopher McDonald, and Michael Madsen are also excellent, but no one person ever eclipses the greatness of Sarandon and Davis. The screenplay is both insightful and depressing, and the direction by Ridley Scott is top-notch. All in all, this is a fantastic, poignant film with a kick ass ending.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

*We were invited to attend the 25th anniversary screening of "Thelma & Louise" by Park Circus, a group that helps classic films get distributed on the big screen. All opinions and thoughts are our own and we were not compensated for this review.

No comments:

Post a Comment