Thelma and Louise


Having had huge success with having a woman as his main protagonist in his second film, 1979’s Alien, British director Ridley Scott decided to double down with having two female leads in his 1991 release Thelma and Louise.

It’s a film that saw the two titular characters, played by Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, embark on an adventure that crossed a number of genres, including road trip, drama, adventure and buddy movie, which would normally be the domain for male actors, and yet still made a significant point that they could be a hit with audiences.

boom reviews Thelma and Louise
I just need to get my hat in frame just right...

Preparing for a weekend away in the mountains are best friends Thelma (Davis) and Louise (Sarandon). Both need a break from their respective other halves, and are looking forward to getting away from it all.

So with their things packed away in Louise’s convertible Thunderbird, they hit the road, looking forward to spending some girlie time together.

It’s not long into the journey that Thelma pleads with Louise to pull over at a bar and have a break, which she begrudgingly agrees to.

Thelma is clearly relieved to not only be out of the house but away from her selfish hubby, and has a few drinks and lets her hair down on the dance floor. She gets the attention of a local, who seems friendly enough, but with Thelma in a drunken state, he’s keen to take advantage of her.

The situation goes south real quick, when Louise steps in to save her friend, but it comes at a price, which sees them fleeing the bar in some hurry.

The pair soon find themselves on the run, but with neither of them keen to turn back, they have nothing but road in front of them, in what will turn out to be a road trip neither will ever forget.

boom reviews Thelma and Louise
We're sorry but did you say you'd prefer Stallone and Murphy in our roles?!

Although after the incredible performances given by both Davis and Sarandon, it’s hard to believe that neither were first choice for these roles; originally cast were Michelle Pfeiffer and Jodie Foster, and when they dropped out they were replaced by Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn. And it was only when they left the project that Davis and Sarandon were cast. It’s intriguing to think how the film would’ve turned out with either combination of the previously cast actresses, and whether or not it would have gone on to become the cultural phenomenon that it did.

So much so that in 2016 the US Library of Congress included the film in the National Film Registry, for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant". And just over thirty years since its release, nothing has changed, except perhaps this 4K restoration, meaning it remains a significant piece of cinema to this day.

Its script, which won an Oscar for its debut writer Callie Khouri, certainly broke the mainstream Hollywood mould. Hollywood may well be a dream factory, but primarily it’s a money making business, and the sad reality of it is, is that male-led projects just make more money. So the idea of making a mainstream film with not one but two female leads was just unheard of.

It is the hugely appealing dynamic of Davis and Sarandon’s on screen chemistry that has shaped the film’s long-lasting legacy. It is a friendship that the audience immediately buys into from the off, making us a welcome accomplice along the bumpy road ahead.

The fact the film also featured an early role from a certain Brad Pitt certainly didn’t do any harm either.

And yet despite the fact that it’s a formula that clearly worked, Hollywood still maintains its defiance of promoting female talent in any way close to how it does the male of the species, as strong female talent continues to struggle to find any kind of parity in the industry.

That, sadly, makes this film all the more special, a rarity in the cinema landscape, featuring two magnificent performances and an iconic ending, that still proves to be one helluva ride.

we give this four out of five