Two women on a crime spree.
Callie Khouri was 30, a music video line producer, and had never written a screenplay in her life until she thought of the line above. It eventually led to “Thelma & Louis,” a 1991 Ridley Scott film starring Susan Sarandon (Stepmom), Geena Davis (A League of their Own), Harvey Keitel (National Treasure, Pulp Fiction), and introducing Brad Pitt.
The story of “Thelma & Louise” won Khouri an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay (first screenplay=first Oscar). She is from the south, growing up in both Texas and Kentucky, and she, apparently, had to teach Director Ridley Scott what southern humor was as they worked on the film together (who knew you had to teach people??).
Thelma and Louise end up traveling from Arkansas to the Grand Canyon (avoiding Texas). It was filmed in Arches National Park, California, Colorado, and, of course, the Grand Canyon. We follow friends, Thelma and Louise, as they go away for just a girl’s
weekend and end up running for their lives trying to get to Mexico. After a traumatic event, they have to hit the road and run for their lives. They cannot trust anyone or tell them what happened because no one would believe them. Only one law enforcement officer, Keitel, trust their story and wants to see them live through this. He and the girls make contact a few times until things go from bad to worse.
If I was Louise, I would have ended up committing two murders: the rapist and Thelma.
“You’ve always been crazy, this is just the first time you’ve had to express yourself.”
Louise Sawyer, played by Susan Sarandon, “Thelma and Louise”
Thelma could never get it together. Bless her heart. From letting a hitchhiker (Pitt) steal all of their money, dropping the money they did have out the window while they were driving 110 mph down the interstate, to accidentally telling the police that they were headed to Mexico.
What stays with me after watching it again after several years is how quickly our lives can change. Our current global situation reminds us. Also, the idea that women would have to run for their lives because men would not believe them is still a harsh reality we women live in. I am reminded of a more recent film that has a similar theme: Queen and Slim. Both encapsulates the reality that the truth does not always set you free. It all depends on how much of a voice you have in society.
Twenty-nine years after “Thelma & Louise” was released our society still does not value a woman’s word. Although we have been progressing in giving a voice to the voiceless, it is not fast enough. Watch the news now and you will see women’s stories are questioned and discussed like what they said could not possibly be the truth.
Thelma and Louise are strong southern women who did what they felt they had to to survive. I know this is fiction. But I am sure you could change their names to any woman today because we have all had to run from something or not speak up for something. So for all you women out there, Tawanda (if you don’t know what film I am referencing, shame on you, and look it up).