Thelma and Louise Presentation Handout

Topics: Gender, Masculinity, Gender role Pages: 4 (877 words) Published: December 13, 2013
Thelma and Louise (1991)

The story includes the journey of two best friends who find comfort in each from their dreary and mundane domesticated lives. The need for escape and freedom is introduced right from the beginning when Thelma has to ask her husband to go away for the week. The desire for pleasure and escapism overwhelms them when they are away from the domestic sphere. They feel as if something is missing and want to have time by themselves to really figure out what that is.

Thelma is a housewife under the control of her husband of many years, submissive and sheltered. Louise is an independent, unmarried, low-income worker. Both women are unfulfilled. Louise seems to have a liberation that Thelma yearns for and admires, and we get a sense that Louise feels maternal and protective towards her friend Thelma, who hasn’t been out in the wide world like she has.

Identity/Butch Femme

Thelma and Louise (1991) was the pro-feminist buddy movie which probably came closest to reproducing the generic narrative coding of "a road movie, a western, a buddy movie, an outlaw movie, all of which are recognised as 'masculine' genres that have particular resonance as popular myths of specifically American identity" (Arthurs, 1995, p.99)

Road Movie/Freedom

Literal and emotional journey
Transgressing gender boundaries
Seeking fulfillment and escape
Rebellion against the patriarchy
The road brings transformation
Thelma: “I feel really awake… You feel like that? You feel like you’ve got something to live for now?”

Buddy Movie

Cathy Griggers talks about Thelma and Louise losing their valuables as women of a lower middle class. They sacrifice security, their home, car, clothes and protection of their bodies by their men and the law, in exchange for each other. "To me, the ending was symbolic, not literal ... We did everything possible to make sure you didn't see a literal death. That you didn't see the car land, you didn't see a big puff of smoke...

Bibliography: -De Lauretis, Teresa (1984): ‘The Mythical Subject’, in Alice Doesn 't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (London: Macmillan), pp. 113-134
-Creed, Barbara (2007) ‘The Neomythin Film: The Woman Warrior from Joan of Arc to Ellen Ripley’. In Andris, S. and Frederick, U. (eds.), Women Willing to Fight (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) -Thornham, Sue (2012) ‘What if Ihad been the hero?’, Chapter One of What if I Had Been the Hero? Investigating Women’s Cinema(BFI)
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