Brains Only Get You So Far and Luck Always Runs Out
Thelma and Louise is a 1991 film about two good friends who set out on a road trip to relax from their hectic lives, but find themselves anything than relaxed. They are tired of their boring, routine lives, and find excitement on the road, although not in the way they would have liked. Thelma is a push-over house wife with a controlling husband and Louise is a stressed waitress with a boyfriend who is unwilling to commit. In an attempt to rescue Thelma from a potential rape, Louise shoots and kills a man named Harlen. They then set out in Louise’s ’66 Thunderbird for the adventure of their lives. Throughout the movie, there are times in which you find yourself wondering what in the world the character is doing and how they could possibly be so naive, but Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis are both so vibrant, funny, and sweet that you can’t help but feel for them. Many people view this film as sexist, attacking the male gender. However, I have quite the different outlook on it. Although it is overall empowering to women, that does not have to automatically mean it must be downgrading to men. There are some positive male roles, such as the police detective, Hal, and Jimmy, Louise’s boyfriend. When Geena Davis was asked about Thelma and Louise being considered a male-bashing movie, even she commented, “Most guys don't relate to the truck driver or the rapist, and if they do, their problems are bigger than this movie.” My analysis of Thelma and Louise discusses the friendship between the leading characters and their different personalities, how males are perceived in the movie and their relationships with the women, and the controversial ending of the movie.
Thelma and Louise have opposite personalities but are together in the same risky undertaking. Thelma is passive, allowing her husband to dominate her life. This affects the story because Thelma is so used to having her decisions made for her, that when she finally gets the chance to make them on her own, she acts rather juvenile and does not fully think of the consequences of her actions. Louise, on the other hand, is more confident, independent, and in control of her life. These different characteristics are very important to the story, sculpting the decisions each character makes and how they both react to the same situation they are in. They portray this throughout the movie with both actions and words. One example from the beginning of the movie is that Thelma is afraid to ask her husband, Daryl, if she can go on a road trip with Louise. Furthermore, although they are both riding in the convertible, Louise is the one driving and Thelma is the passenger. When the girls and Harlen first meet, he comes off as very charming and flirtatious. Although Thelma is quickly swept away, Louise is suspicious from the moment she hears him say, “Kewtee pies.” Thelma was the helpless victim being sexually assaulted while Louise was the worthy hero holding the gun. Their friendship was so close, however, that by Louise being the hero and saving Thelma, they both fall into being victims of a society based on the power of men. You could even transition out of their relationship being solely friendship and say that Thelma and Louise had a mother-daughter bond. In numerous times throughout the movie, Thelma behaves as a child and Louise acts as the parent. For example, when Thelma asks Louise to pull over at the bar, she initially says, “No”, but eventually gives in as Thelma continues to beg. Also, at the bar, Thelma orders many drinks off the bat, while Louise remains more conservative. This is where we transfer back over to friendship, as Thelma pressures and convinces Louise to order a couple of drinks. Even after rescuing Thelma and having just shot and killed a man, Thelma is the frantic one while Louise tries to rationally think about what to do, telling Thelma alongside that it was going to be okay and attempting...
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