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Thelma & Louise Turns 30 And Still Impactful

By Lori Perkins

Thelma & Louise is my favorite movie—it’s my feel good/feel bad go-to film, which often frightens away perspective romantic partners.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s the Susan Sarandon/Geena Davis road trip crime spree movie that ends with the two of them choosing to drive their vintage Thunderbird convertible into the Grand Canyon instead of face the patriarchal judicial system. Many people do not see that as a happy ending – or they see it as the version of “bad” women must die trope –but I remind them that that is also the ending of Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and thus, to me, it’s the first time a “chick flick” was elevated to the status a male buddy movie.

To celebrate this momentous anniversary, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, and the writer Callie Khouri (but not the director Ridley Scott, who seems to know a thing or two about depicting strong women) came together in L.A. at the Greek Theater for a Drive-in movie screening of the now classic film. The two actors wore coordinating T-shirts for the event with Sarandon rocking a “She’s My Thelma & I’m Her Louise” shirt while Davis’ read “I’m Her Thelma & She’s My Louise.” (These can be purchased for good friends, as well.) They even re-united with the 1966 Thunderbird!

But in this #MeToo era we now live in, the film takes on a different urgency, as it is one of the first movies I can remember that addresses the subject of a woman thwarting an attempted rape, killing the attempted rapist, and the misogyny that surrounds the consequences of an action like that. Until my last viewing, I had never even thought of it as a #MeToo movie.

Said Sarandon of the film’s impact, “I completely underestimated that we were backing into territory held by white heterosexual males,” she said. “They got offended and accused us of glorifying murder and suicide and all kids of things. It didn’t seem like a big deal, it seemed like it was unusual that there would be a woman that you could be friends with in a film. Normally, if there were two women in a film, you automatically hated each other for some reason. … Next thing we knew, all hell broke loose.”

If you haven’t seen it recently, it’s definitely worth a re-watch, perhaps with some of your good friends.

And, not for nothing, it is also the first time I remember seeing Brad Pitt, as a delicious young man, and thinking I would watch that guy in almost anything.


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