Thelma & Louise is a 1991 American road movie which breaks with tradition by featuring two female leads. Directed by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri, the film's plot revolves around Thelma and Louise's escape from their troubled home lives. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma, and Susan Sarandon as Louise, and co-stars Harvey Keitel as a sympathetic detective trying to trace them as they go on the run and become outlaws. Michael Madsen plays Louise's boyfriend and Christopher McDonald plays Thelma's controlling husband. Brad Pitt (in his first significant role in a major Hollywood film) plays a parolee robber who befriends Thelma on the road.
Thelma & Louise became an instant critical and commercial success, becoming one of the highest grossing films of 1991, and receiving six Academy Award nominations, winning one for Best Original Screenplay. Both Sarandon and Davis were nominated for their roles in the same category.
The ending of Thelma & Louise has been blamed for several copycat suicides.
Thelma is a passive, goofy housewife, married to a controlling husband, Darryl. Louise is a single waitress who appears organized and strong, with some unnamed trauma in her past. The film follows the women as they head out in Louise's blue 1966 Thunderbird convertible for a two-day vacation of fishing in the mountains that nosedives into a nightmarish situation before they even reach their destination, but which sees them change from victims of circumstance into outlaw heroines of the road.
At the Silver Bullet, a cowboy bar and dancehall, Thelma meets a man, Harlan, with whom she dances. She gets drunk and the man attempts to rape her in the parking lot. Louise finds them and threatens to shoot Harlan if he doesn't stop, using a gun Thelma brought with her. Harlan stops, but then defiantly tells Louise that they were "just having a little fun." Louise replies that when a girl is crying like that, she's not having any fun. Harlan replies that he "should have gone ahead and fucked her " and tells Louise to "suck my cock." At that, Louise shoots and kills him. Thelma wants to go to the police right away, but Louise is worried that because Thelma was drunk and had been dancing with Harlan, no one would believe he was trying to rape her. Afraid that the authorities will prosecute her, Louise decides to run away, and Thelma follows.
Louise is determined to reach Mexico but is unwilling to do so via Texas, despite the fact that they are in Oklahoma and the fastest route to Mexico leads through Texas. It is revealed that something bad happened to Louise in Texas years ago, though Louise refuses to say exactly what it was. They flee west, and on the way they meet a handsome young man, J.D., whom Thelma immediately likes. She convinces Louise to let him hitch a ride with them. Louise, meanwhile, contacts her boyfriend, Jimmy, and asks him to send her life savings via Western Union. But when she goes to pick it up, she discovers that Jimmy has come to see her in person. They go to talk in his room, while Thelma guards the money. Thelma invites J.D. into her room; it turns out that he is a robber who has broken his parole. He and Thelma become intimate, and Thelma experiences a sexual awakening. During their time together J.D. describes how he conducted his hold-ups. Meanwhile, Jimmy asks Louise to marry him, and she refuses, as well as refusing to tell him what is going on. They spend the night together, and then he leaves after breakfast the following morning. The next day, J.D. is gone and so is all of Louise's money. Louise is distraught, and a guilty Thelma decides to take the lead while Louise is frozen with fear. She uses what J.D. taught her to rob a store. All this time the FBI has been tracking them and getting closer and closer to their trail. Det. Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel) finds out what happened to Louise in Texas, and appears to be sympathetic to her predicament.
Their actions continue to spiral out of control as the two of them make their way across the country, particularly with the ever more daring Thelma, who has shed her giggly, goofy personality for a determined, aggressive, hard-drinking one. When a policeman (Jason Beghe) stops them for speeding, Thelma threatens the policeman with her gun, steals his gun, and locks him in the trunk of his cruiser. Another character they encounter is a truck driver who repeatedly makes obscene sexual gestures to them on the road. They pull over to demand an apology from him, but he refuses and they shoot his tanker truck, which explodes. In the end, with the police on their tail, Thelma and Louise are cornered near the rim of the Grand Canyon. Rather than be captured and spend the rest of their lives in jail, they make a final choice. They decide to drive the car over the cliff into the canyon, an act which is guaranteed to result in both their deaths. Before the car drives over the edge of the canyon, the two women firmly brace hands and kiss. The film ends with a freeze frame of the car in mid-air. End credits begin over a montage of their happiest moments together during the weekend.
Thelma & Louise and Women in Hollywood by Gina Fournier (McFarland & Co., Inc. Publishers, 2007). Thelma & Louise Live! The Cultural Afterlife of an American Film, Bernie Cook, Ed. (The University of Texas Press, 2007).
Thelma Louise Schweitzer longtime resident of Northbrook Memorial service for Thelma Louise Schweitzer, 95, will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, at Village Presbyterian Church, 1300 Shermer Rd. (corner of Shermer and Cherry), Northbrook, IL.(Obituaries)(Obituary)
Dec 27, 2006; Thelma Louise Schweitzer longtime resident of Northbrook Memorial service for Thelma Louise Schweitzer, 95, will be at 11 a.m....
Two for the Road: A New DVD Release Revisits Thelma & Louise, Which Starving Queer Audiences Embraced as Their Own in 1991
Feb 18, 2003; Thelma & Louise (special edition DVD) * Written by Callie Khouri * Directed by Ridley Scott * Starring Susan Sarandon and Geena...