University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Thelma and Louise
This movie is talking about an adventure of two women, who are middle age good friends and they plan to have a fun just for 2 days originally. However, after the accident happened in the parking lot of a bar on their way to their destination, everything went wrong and their vacation was like a disaster. But during their trip, they survived, they found out their way to live and found back their self-respect so I think it is a good model as a feminism movie and that’s way I choose this movie. Then let me introduce the movie and analysis it.
In the beginning of the movie, it introduces the two women main character Thelma and Louise who are all beautiful and middle aged. But Thelma’s husband who is a very male chauvinism man, restricting his wife at home and going out anywhere himself, shouting at his wife and keeps commanding his wife rudely. On the other hand Louise is a waitress, having a boyfriend but not marry yet. I think in the late 1900s women are still oppressed by the society and men. Even though the film does not mention the era, I can figure the time easily because the social status of women is still low and equivalent to the other film “North Country”.
After a routing insult from her husband, Thelma decides to go having fun with Louise without her husband’s permission and this is the first step that makes her find herself. When they are on the road, Thelma becomes wild, passionate and crazy and energetic like she is just released from the jail. She also mentions that she feels the call of the wild. When they stop driving for fun in a bar, she is cheated by man’s sweet words and dancing with him. I think because this is the very first time she expresses herself, and compared with Louise, Thelma is more innocent and reckless.
So the consequence is that she is nearly to be raped. But honestly, what she has done? She just has some fun like anyone else. But the women will be raped and the men are not, from this accident I think that the social back ground very look down on women and even don’t respect them at all. I think that Louise is smarter and stronger than Thelma; maybe because she is a waitress, she has more chances to face the people and the society. So when something bad happens to Thelma she arrives and saves her immediately.
Accidentally, Louise shots the man dead, both her and Thelma are afraid and scared; they have two choices, calling the police or just run away, but Louise knows that the police will not believe them so they just escape anyway. I think Louise shots the man dead because, first she had the same experiences like Thelma in the past and the second is that the man does not apologize instead calling them bitch. She says to that man (who states that he and Thelma are just having fun) “when women cried, that does not mean they are having fun! And the gun which be brought by Thelma is the key point of the whole film, starting their life as the runaways. I think if they were calling the police for the dead man right away the consequence would be different. But the raping crime has no witness except themselves and they know that no one is going to believe them. In a male chauvinism society no one will stand on their side (both law and policeman), so they choose to escape, differing from “North country”, the two girls do not fight against the law in the court but by running away.
On the road, they come into a hot guy who is called J. D. and Thelma very likes him because he is handsome and humorous. In the same time, Louise contacts with her boyfriend, Jimmy, to get enough money for the trip. Jimmy is one of the two kind men in this film, and no matter what happen to Louise he will wait her. After getting the money, Louise asks Thelma to keep it safe; however, Thelma focuses on having fun with J. D. because he is totally different from her husband. When Thelma tells Louise how awesome he is and she left him in the room, Louise rushes to the room for the money.
As expected, the money was stolen and they have nothing. Most of the men in the film are bad guys and emphasizes the feminism of this film. Thelma’s anxious husband and the man who wants to rape Thelma make them want to fight against men instead of being oppressed by them. Feminism movies always need male chauvinism to contrast the awakening of women. And this trip, they call it vacation, is a wakening for them to find themselves. On their way, Thelma becomes smarter and finds her truth personality gradually.
For surviving, Thelma even robs a store with her gun and I really admire her courage even though that means they have to escape from state to state. I think maybe she is more innocent than Louise and having less experience but actually she is the one dare to do anything. This also can be detected in the beginning of the film that she goes out with Louise without her husband’s permission, and also can be seen when she makes a call to her husband during the trip, her husband asks her go home right away and Thelma just reply “f***ing yourself”.
I think these behaviors cause from she just let herself get out of the constraint which restricts her soul for so long. There is another man who drives a gas car keeping annoy them on the road. He keeps saying “suck my dick” this kind of dirty languages, several times Louise and Thelma just ignore and overtake the gas car. At the last time they cannot bear anymore, they stop the car and negotiate with the man, asking him apologize. Like the one they met in the bar, he just says bad languages to them.
But this time the two women are not afraid of holding guns and both of them shots the gas car. They are not cowards anymore because they go through all of these chaoses and conquer them. After be chased by police for so long, in the end of the movie they are surrounded by the police army. Both of them do not want to be arrested and sent back to the male society, Louise is not going to give up and Thelma would rather keep going into the canyon than get caught, it is a decision between life and death.
So in the end they just kiss each other and driving away from the police, rush into the canyon by holding hands with each other. I think this movie is a model feminism film because the main characters are two women, not men. And their changing during the trip which they called “vacation” is very profound. I think what makes them change is that the press and insult from man for so long, and this trip exactly makes them figure out why they have to endure? Why they have to put up with all these things.
When they figure out they have nothing to lose, they just set themselves free anyway and do whatever they want. In the end of the movie, their courage to die together instead of being caught is very impressive and makes me think what I would do if I were them. They even smile when they face the death; I think they must have strong souls which fight against for them. And the death also represent that they look down on this male society, it’s hopeless for them to live. So they just want to keep going to the death I supposed. And I very appreciate that spirit.