Before watching ‘Thelma & Louise’ I’d heard that it supposed to be a movie glorifying women, a neo-feminist story about female values. Since this was reason enough for me, I decided that I should really experience the film for myself.
Two beautiful women are trapped in dead-end lives. Thelma, played by Geena Davis is the definition of a housewife, bound to a boring and meaningless marriage that makes her miserable. Louise, on the other hand, played by Susan Sarandon, is a character that balances nicely between the idea of an independent woman and the all-time classic stereotype of a woman, while deep down, all she wants is to get married. The two of them decide to go on a fishing trip to spend some time spent together.
The viewer suspects that trouble is lurking right around corner when Thelma hands a gun over to Louise, suggesting that she carry it for safety reasons. Exactly at this point the movie becomes quite predictable. They stop for some drinks at a roadhouse. Thelma gets really drunk and a man named Harlan (Timothy Carhart) tries to have sex with her. Following her refusal, he becomes violent and tries to rape her. Louise makes him stop by pointing Thelma’s gun at him. Misjudging Louise’s intentions, he keeps provoking her and she shoots him. Harlan drops dead instantly. The police come over a little bit later and the two women become fugitives. Both of them try to sort things out and find a solution to their situation. Hence, their road trip starts in order to get to Mexico as soon as possible.
As the movie went on, I found myself really struggling to uncover which aspect of the film glorifies women. Thelma’s character makes one stupid move after another; she keeps getting into trouble and continues to make a whole load of bad choices that don’t make any sense. Louise tries to be the brain of the operation, but still feels helpless on her own and ends up asking for help from her boyfriend, even though she never had the kind of relationship that she really wished for. In order to make it through, they start to adopt a kind of masculine attitude: they change their way of dressing, they become hostile and violent and within two days they become the epitome of outlaws.
I do get the trapped life that you can so easily find yourself in. I do get the importance of taking matters into your own hands. I do get the anger when life has been destroyed by a guy. But does this mean that a woman is so stupid and desperate that she can’t do something of significance to make her life better? Does she really have so few choices that she has to end up doing what she used to make fun of? And in the end, are women so truly desperate, as they’re portrayed in ‘Thelma & Louise’, that a suicide mission seems to be more appealing than fighting for a better life?