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Thelma and Louise

Ridley Scott’s road movie is about a couple of Arkansas women (beautifully played by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon) who set out for a weekend in the mountains and wind up (after shooting a sex-attacker) speeding through the Southwest on the run from the law. Feminist critic Amy Taubin has argued that ‘what explicitly separates this film from the generic chaff is the distinctive means by which the road to the self is travelled.

In short, Thelma and Louise become outlaws the moment they seize control of their bodies. Theirs is a crime of self-defence, their bandit identities forced on them by a gendered lack of freedom, their journey grounded in the politics of the body.

In a culture where the female body is traded, circulated in a perverse exchange, for a woman to seize power over her body is still a radical act.’

Callie Khouri’s script is open to such a reading, even though director Scott saw the movie as more about freedom than women versus men. The point is that Thelma and Louise works on many different levels, with the script’s feminist agenda combining very well with the movie’s exhilarating portrayal of a journey into recklessness. This remains Scott’s best film, simply because his formidable visual style is here serving a provocative and intelligent script.

U.S.A., 1991.
Colour.
Panavision anamorphic.
Dolby stereo SR.
128 mins.

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