Thelma & Louise Redux

just back from spending time off-grid for another week, and while away I jacked electricity from the solar panel enough to charge my computer and to watch old movies. An eclectic selection courtesy of BB’s son, the movies ranged from “Jackie”, with Natalie Portman (yuck, I just don’t ‘get’ Portman and the Jackie she portrayed was lame), to “Ghostbusters” and some thrillers. Amongst the flix was an oldie, “Thelma and Louise”. I hadn’t seen the film since it came out in the early 90s and was shocked at how RELEVANT it is in these “Me Too” times TWO DECADES AND A HALF later!!! I think that the moment Thelma says to Louise, who has killed the would-be rapist, “Let’s go to the police”, and Louise responds, “Are you crazy, nobody would believe us. This isn’t the kind of world we live in” (or something like that), rings as true then as it did 17 years ago.

I found the movie as funny and impressive as I did when I first saw it – it stands the test of time. I also found it depressing. The scenes with the perve truck driver jogged memories for me, memories I’d clearly BURIED, and this shocked me. It shocked me because clearly I’d grown up in an era wherein men could behave so horribly with impunity that I just had to shrug my shoulders and carry on. I’d forgotten all the lewd gestures, the inappropriate comments, the small and greater assaults on my body and spirit as a growing female. I simply suppressed them. And watching many of those scenes in Thelma and Louise jogged my memory. And this disturbed me and astonished me.

Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis are brilliant in this movie – no, they are perfect. Their transformation from good girls who play by the rules (while ALL the men around them, ubiquitously make up their own and with impunity) is masterful, or should I say mistressful. The script is perfect and Ridley Scott’s direction is fantastic. Harvey Keitel, as the ONLY decent man in the film, is perfect. Brad Pitt’s cameo is definitely his star-making moment. And the US Southwest is more gorgeous than ever, esp. given the environmental degradation and economic desolation one sees in the earlier Oklahoma scenes.

A side note: Susan Sarandon, at age 45 when this film was made, and Geena Davis, age 35, were basically considered over-the-hill for Hollywood at the time. In my p.o.v., women only BEGIN to come into their own in their late 40s and 50s, that is, once the biological imperative choice has been made (coincidence or correlation?). They are brilliant in this. From the opening scenes to the final kiss, a kiss that in itself far predated Madonna’s smooch.

Catherine Deneuve and those other 99 would never ‘get’ this film. Too bad for them.

Anyone teaching history, philosophy, script writing etc. should screen this film.


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