|THELMA & LOUISE (1991)|
|"You shoot off a guy's head with his pants down, believe me, Texas ain't the place you want to get caught."|
|Time: 124 mins.|
Won Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Nominations for Best Actress (Sarandon, Davis), Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography.
THELMA AND LOUISE is one of those films that sparks great emotion from both sides of the gender fence. Women love it because it finally shows a side kept fairly hidden on the screen and men hate it because it scares the ever-living bejesus out of them. How could two such mild-mannered women end up as gun-toting criminals? We know how. Their actions don't surprise me one bit. There are days, when the hormones are raging, that I truly believe I could kill a person with my bare hands just for saying "hello" to me. At least their actions have good motivations. They've been kicked around and unappreciated for so long, that it's only a matter of time before some insensitive redneck pushed the wrong button. Believe me it's not as far-fetched as you might imagine.
This movie uncovers two known, but unreported secrets about woman: 1) That the ties of womanhood are stronger than any male/female relationship, except mother to child, because men come and go, but a good friend who'll watch your back and help you lick your wounds is hard to come by; 2) That when pushed onto the path of violence, there is no turning back, no second thoughts and no mercy. It's rare that woman resort to violence to solve their problems, but when they do, they usually solve them for good. Men can be brutish and cruel, but there's nothing more malicious than a pissed off chick. Men are usually unaware of these traits because they rarely come to light. This movie puts them out there for the world to see and some people would rather just be ignorant.
With all this said, having watched THELMA AND LOUISE again recently, I have to admit that it's a bit preachy and overbearing at times. The only thing that keeps it together is the amazing acting from both Sarandon and Davis. The friendship between these woman is the crux of the film. There's never any doubt that no matter what happens, they will always be there for the other. They love and accept each other in a way the men in this film will never even begin to understand. What's sad is the way it ended, which I just don't agree with. Didn't then, sure don't now. They'd certainly never go to jail if they were tried and convicted these days. But 1991 was a different time in this country, before clever lawyers could get anyone aquited.
It all begins with a simple idea. Louise (Sarandon), an unhappy waitress, and her best friend Thelma (Davis), an unloved housewife, decide to go away for the weekend to relax and getaway from their everyday lives. Louise wants to drive through and get to the cabin so they can let their hair down. Thelma wants to stop and have a drink along the way. What Louise doesn't realize is that Thelma has no experience with heavy drinking and sweaty cowboys. Both of which spell trouble for the naive and trusting Thelma. She thinks the dancing and flirting are innocent and mean nothing. The guy she hooks up with thinks he's getting lucky and he's not taking "no" for an answer. Things get out of hand in the blink of an eye, but lucky for Thelma, Louise shows up with gun cocked to make him stop. Displeased with having his fun spoiled, he makes a nasty comment one shouldn't say to any woman, especially one holding a loaded weapon. In a flash of pure rage, she shoots him dead.
Instead of going to the police, they take off into the night, heading for Mexico. Thelma wants to go back and tell her side of the story, but Louise shuts that line of thinking right off. Everyone in the bar saw her dancing with him, completely drunk off her ass. Who's going to believe that he forced himself on her? Why would he have to since she was hanging all over him? (These days she probably wouldn't even be arrested. However, they were in redneck country so who's to say.) They are now fugitives and once they get enough money they're just going to disappear. Maybe the police don't even know who they are.
Unfortunately, things don't go according to plan. Though they get the cash from Louise's boyfriend (Madsen), Thelma quickly loses it all by trusting and sleeping with a gorgeous, thieving redneck played by Brad Pitt. Which is fairly understandable considering what she was married to. However, you think she'd learn after what happened in the bar. The main problem Louise has throughout this entire film is the fact that her best friend is a complete, trusting idiot when it comes to men. Frankly, after the money incident, I'd have left her on the side of the road and drove off by myself. But, this is a movie about friendship, so Louise has to forgive her. At least Thelma finally makes herself useful by robbing a convenience store so they can have some money to escape. This, of course, only exacerbates their problems with the law. In the end, they've committed so many atrocities against the men in this film not without provocation I might add that they have no choice but to take matters into their own hands to avoid capture, ending the chase for good.