Thelma and Louise (1991): Scott’s Exhilarating Female Buddy Road Movie, Starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis

Sharply written by Callie Khouri, and energetically directed by Ridley Scott, “Thelma and Louise” is a giddy, intoxicating comedy-adventure, with a looming sense of fatality. 

A rousing road movie, the female buddy (South) Western tale has been compared to “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, including the very last shot, a freeze-frame.
The plot might be contrived (and in sections downright unbelievable), but it’s the vivid characters, the witty dialogue, and the vibrant performances that count.  Unfolding a journey of self-discovery, Khouri puts her two femmes through an endless series of outrageous situations which test their personalities and their friendship.
Geena Davis plays Louise, a repressed and naive housewife in curlers, and Susan Sarandon is Thelma, a cynical, more sophisticated and mature waitress. “I have had it up my ass with sedate,” Louise says, and we believe her.
Almost on a whim, they climb into a 1966 Thunderbird convertible, leave behind their men in small town Arkansas, and hit the road, unaware that it would turn out to be a life-affirming odyssey.
The two women aspire for freedom and liberation from the oppressive patriarchy that had defined their lives. Riding across the heroic landscape of the Southwest, they get high on their newly found liberation.
Heading off for a holiday weekend together, Louise and Thelma stop at a roadside bar. The attempted rape and the violence that ensues, when Louise shoots the macho pig, sets them off on an extended journey to Mexico.
Along the way, they encounter a wide gallery of men, a devious hitchhiker, an obscene trucker, who gets his due punishment, an unsuspecting cop.
Not all the males are bad or deviant. There’s Louise’s boyfriend, who brings her money when she needs it, and there’s a sympathetic Arkansas policeman (Harvey Keitel), who monitors their descent into deeper and deeper trouble.

 

The controversial movie ends at the Grand Canyon—in sort of a mythic way that confounded expectations and upset some critics and viewers.  At the end of the film, with an army of police cars behind them, the two females choose to leap into void and drive their car into the Canyon–instead of going to jail and to their previous suffocating surrounding

 

Sarandon and Davis give their most impressive performances to date, showing a strong chemistry in all of their scenes together. They are guided by the assured hand of Ridley Scott, who gives the narrative a fast-paced and stylized direction.
Cast
Susan Sarandon……… Louise
Geena Davis………… Thelma
Harvey Keitel…………. Hal
Michael Madsen………. Jimmy
Christopher McDonald… Darryl
Stephen Tobolowsky…….. Max
Brad Pitt…………… J. D.
Timothy Carhart…….. Harlan
Credits
Released by Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
Director Ridley Scott.
Producers Ridley Scott and Mimi Polh.
Co-producers: Dean O’Brlen and Callie Khouri. Screenplay by Callie Khouri.
Cinematographer Adrian Biddle.
Editor Thom Noble.
Costume design: Elizabeth McBride.
Music: Hans Zimmer.
Production design: Norris Spenser.
Running time: 129 Minutes.