Thelma & Louise is an action/adventure/road movie. The film was directed by Ridley Scott and released in 1991. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon star as the title characters. Both actresses were nominated an Academy Award for Best Actress each, but lost to Jodie Foster for Silence Of The Lambs.
Best friends, Thelma Dickinson, a housewife, and Louise Sawyer, a waitress, are bored with their daily lives and plan a vacation together. They set off in Louise's Thunderbird car and Thelma has packed a gun.
On the way, Thelma asks Louise to stop at a local bar. Reluctantly, Louise does so and the two have a drink. A man called Harlan chats them up. Thelma joins the conversation despite Louise's objections and enters a line dance with Harlan. She then feels sick and Harlan takes her out for fresh air, but then attempts to rape her. Luckily, Louise saves Thelma using the gun and warns Harlan to back off. As they walk away, Harlan yells profanity and claims that he would have raped as many women as he wanted. Disgusted, Louise shoots him. Thelma senses danger and the two drive away from the scene, fearing that they will be prosecuted. Thelma suggests to inform the police, but Louise has second thoughts, believing that because Thelma was drunk and dancing with Harlan, the law may not listen.
Hal Slocomb, a sympathetic detective of the FBI, inspects Harlan's corpse and believes that the culprits may have had a motive. He plans to investigate.
Meanwhile, the women intend to travel from Oklahoma to Mexico. Thelma suggests that they take a shortcut through Texas. Louise refuses, because she despises the state; it is hinted that Louise experienced the same incident in Texas as Thelma did with Harlan, but Louise refuses to talk about it. On the way to Mexico, the women come across a young man named J.D. who claims that he is looking for transport to school. Thelma persuades Louise to give him a lift. Louise reluctantly does so and Thelma and J.D. get to know each other further. Louise contacts her boyfriend Jimmy Lennox and asks him to send her life savings via Western Union. When she goes to collect the money, Jimmy has arrived there. The women stay at a motel and Thelma is revisited by J.D. and invites him in. Thelma learns that J.D. is a thief who has broken parole. They sleep together and J.D. shares his burglary experiences with Thelma. Jimmy proposes to Louise, but Louise turns him down.
The next morning, Louise discovers that Thelma is in a state. Thelma tells Louise about her night with J.D. and that J.D. is taking a shower. Knowing that the money is in the bedroom, Louise panics and they rush there, only to discover the money has disappeared and J.D. is not there. It is clear that J.D. has stolen the money. Louise dispairs, but Thelma gains determination. When they stop at a convenience store, Thelma robs the store using the same tactics J.D. used.
Meanwhile, Hal resumes his investigation, with help from Darryl, Thelma's controlling husband. He discovers the women have robbed the convenience store, via CCTV. He interrogates J.D., who the FBI have arrested, presuming that J.D. may have worsened the situation. Later he discovers the event Louise experienced in Texas and has brief phone calls with her. He expresses sympathy for the predicament and attempts to protect her, but unsuccessfully attempts to persuade the women to surrender.
Elsewhere, Thelma and Louise come across a police officer who catches them speeding. He escorts Louise in his car, but Thelma points a gun at the cop, steals his gun and locks him in the trunk of the cop car. The women carry on and encounter a truck driver who constantly makes obscene gestures towards them. They pull him over and demand an apology. The truck driver refuses. As a result, the women shoot his truck which blows up.
As the women reach the Grand Canyon, they are cornered by the police. Hal arrived on the scene and tries one last attempt to talk to the women. Rather that be captured and spend the rest of their lives in jail, Thelma suggests that Louise continues driving. As they accelerate, Hal chases them. The women drive over the cliff and the film ends.
It is not known whether the women survive or die. A montage of their positive moments follows during the credits.
|Susan Sarandon||Louise Sawyer|
|Geena Davis||Thelma Dickinson|
|Harvey Keitel||Hal Slocomb|
|Michael Madsen||Jimmy Lennox|
|Christopher McDonald||Darryl Dickinson|
|Timothy Carhart||Harlan Puckett|
|Stephen Tobolowsky||Max, FBI agent|
|Jason Beghe||Police officer|
|Marco St. John||Truck driver|
Thelma & Louise was a critical and commercial success. Over its $16.5 million budget, the US box office consisted of $45,360,915.
Reviews are generally positive. British TV guide The Radio Times rated Thelma & Louise 5 out of 5 stars. Rotten Tomatoes rates the film 83%.
The film won one award; Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Callie Khouri).
Another five nominations followed;
- Best Actress; both Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon (lost to Jodie Foster for the Silence Of The Lambs)
- Best Director; Ridley Scott (lost to Jonathan Demme, again for the Silence Of The Lambs)
- Best Cinematography; Adrian Bibble (lost to Robert Richardson, JFK)
- Best Film Editing; Thom Noble (lost to Joe Hutshing & Pietro Scalia, JFK)