“I resisted this movie for years. YEARS. I knew it was a classic, of course, but I also knew that it had a reputation for being the ultimate chick flick. And we all know I don’t do chick flicks. A friend finally sat me down to watch it some time back. I don’t remember how he convinced me, but knowing us, I’m pretty sure alcohol would have been involved. My first reaction was “”why didn’t anyone tell me this was so dark?”” I mean really, had I known that it actually took some fairly twisted turns and wasn’t a feel good girlie movie, I would not have put up the fight that I did.
If you only have a surface familiarity with the flick, as I did, then you at least know that it’s Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon on a road trip. And Brad Pitt shows up at some point (in his first star-making role) and he’s all sexy. So you get why my hesitation, yeah? But that’s not the whole story. First off, a big part of the reason the gals go on the road to begin with is because Davis’ Thelma is in an abusive relationship with a controlling husband, so Louise (Sarandon) drags her to a girls weekend. Along the way, Thelma wants to really enjoy her short breath of freedom and the two end up at a honky tonk/dance club/fun place where bad things happen. Thelma gets a little too friendly with a patron who ends up wanting a little too much from her, and it results in Louise shooting the man dead in order to rescue her friend. Convinced that it won’t be seen as the clear case of self defense that it should be, the women turn full Bonnie & Bonnie and go on the run. And it’s there on the road, running from the law and getting into deeper and deeper trouble, that they really find that sense of freedom they were both looking for.
Okay that ended on a cheesy note, but the point is, there are real stakes and real issues, and these are formidable and full realized women. Yes, yes, yes, and yes! That alone is reason enough to make this a must see. That and Brad Pitt *swoon*
I remembered when I first saw it, my friend and I quickly determined which of us was Thelma and which was Louise. And I promptly forgot. It took all of five minutes on this watch to quickly remember that I a _totally_ a Louise: the one who plans and thinks through everything and is dictated by logic more than whim.
The other surprise (since I had clearly forgotten) was that Harvey Keitel and Michael Madsen are both in this. Keitel is the cop following behind our ladies, so not too much of a stretch there. But tough guy, Reservoir Dog Mr Blonde Michael Madsen is Louise’s boyfriend. And a completely sweet and doting one at that. What? So unexpected for someone who I love for his recurring bad boy roles in Tarantino films. And a different take on the bf trope that I can get behind.
It’s interesting looking back on this film 25 years after it was done and seeing what has changed in the world and what hasn’t. Maybe in today’s age, the ladies would not have felt the need to flee in terror, and they could have felt their voice had been heard. Or maybe the world hasn’t come as far as I would like to think. If nothing else, I’d hope this movie would help keep that conversation going.”