Film Analysis of Thelma and Louise
Thelma and Louise is a 1991 movie directed by Ridely Scott, written by Callie Khouri, and starring Susan Sarandon and Gina Davis. Louise is a restaurant waitress with a inattentive boyfriend and Thelma is a house wife with an impatient and angry husband. The two women decided to take a break from their caged life and take a road trip. Louise shot a man trying to rape Thelma and they begin a journey of running away from the police. During this journey they keep committing “necessary” crimes. In the end, rather than surrendering to the police, they drive off a cliff. The movie ends with their car paused in the air. The movie revealed many personal and social problems women are facing and showed the two heroin’s extreme responses. The movie was well received both commercially and critically. It had a gross box office of $45,361,000. It won an Oscar for the best screenplay and had 5 nominations, including two best actress and best director. The director, Ridley Scott, is best known for his action movies such as Alien and Blade runner. He is famous for his slow pacing action and his use of music and surrounding to build up the atmosphere. Ridley Scott grew up in a family where his military officer father was never home. Strong female characters can be found in many of his films. The script writer, Callie Khouri, is a female writer and director who was raised in Texas and Kentucky. She worked as a production assistant while writing the script.
Thelma and Louise, as seen from its name, tells the story of two female friends who intend to go away for a few days on a fishing trip. The trip for Thelma was to escape the boredom of her marriage. And for Louise it was to sort out her feelings about her relationship with her boyfriend. After a brutal attempted rape at the start of the trip, they find themselves on the run facing a possible murder charge. Louise had been the victim of rape in the past and believed they had no chance of justice if they went to the police. Thelma was horrified but will not abandon her friend, and the two take off in Louise’s car. On the run and out of money, the girls commit a string crimes including robbery, blowing up a semi-truck, and imprisoning a cop in the trunk of his patrol car. Chased by many police cars in hot pursuit in the end, the two buddies drive off the cliff to ‘continue’ their journey. The average shot length of this movie is about 6.3 seconds which is quite rare in Hollywood genre nowadays, indicating that this movie was not focused on the pace and excitement of action but the psychological transition of these two women. In many scenes the camera shows the road the two women were trying to get to from a distance, indicating the long road ahead of them and also the long road behind them. It is symbolic of women’s path throughout time to become equals with men. To give the feeling of the movement of the journey, we often see the profiles of the women in close-ups with their hair streaming behind them and as the camera appears to move with them. This results in the audience feeling as if they themselves are making the journey as well. This road movie follows a classic three-act structure including three parts: Setup, Confrontation, and Resolution. This is a highly accepted and greatly successful method of storytelling. Act I: The Trip
As the titles roll we see a road stretching to faraway blue mountains. The background music has a kind of rock and roll country sound, so the audience holds the expectation that what they are about to see will involve a journey in the western states of America. And the endless road, which lasts for 50 seconds on screen, can be a symbol of an person’s life itself. When introducing the characters the movie implies Thelma and Louise are both bored to death by their tedious lives and are desperate for a change. A major foreshadowing happens when Thelma packs for a fishing trip with...
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