The Feminist Road Movie-Thelma and Louise at (about) 30

But buddy-buddy road movies are meant to be about men, goddammit! From Eastwood and Bridges via Laurel and Hardy to Pine and Foster, it’s jobs for the boys! The idea of subverting the genre and turning into a feminist message movie could only occur to people of real distinction. Like Ridley Scott and his writer Callie Khourie. So came Thelma and Louise (1991)

And feminist movie it is. It should be shown to all girls, compulsorily, at the age of ten and a half as Terrible Warning of the types of men they are about to meet. The tyrant husband ( played by Christopher McDonald), the bonehead ( played by Michael Madsen) the charming rapist (played by Tim Carhart), gorgeous sociopath ( played by Brad Pitt), and leering brute ( played by Marco St John), Thelma (Geena Davis) and Louise (Susan Sarandon) meet them all in the course of one rather exciting girls’ weekend. It’s the sort of educational experience you will never get in Harvard, however many books you read. And all against the background of the American West, which as ever tries to steal the show as only it can.

The male of the species is redeemed by the inimitable Harvey Keitel, who plays a Detective who sympathises with the ladies’ plight, as it grows more and more acute by the hour. For this is no agit-prop-all-men-are-bad radfem diatribe. Its ultimate plea is for human, not feminist solidarity. It’s Keitel’s tragedy that he ultimately fails-but then, we don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t seen it.

The the only vindication, of a work of art is that it stands the test of time. And Thelma and Louise does this admirably. With a hypnotic soundtrack, two of Hollywood’s most intelligent actresses (we dare say no more) and luminous cinematography, we promise you an experience of living hard. If only they dared to make them this edgy any more.

#great films #thelma and louise #ridley scott #road movie #feminist

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