Two girls, a turquoise 1966 T-Bird convertible, a weekend vacation at a friend’s cabin up in the mountains, what could go wrong? Well, in Ridley Scott’s feminist road movie, a heck of a lot, as henpecked housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) and her world-weary waitress best friend Louise (Susan Sarandon) head out from their humdrum lives on more of an adventure than they bargained for, after a run-in with a would-be rapist at a country bar of ill repute.
The titular roles could not be more different, yet both remain well rounded characters, thanks in part to the able performances by the two leads. Though it is the men that seem to shepherd our heroines on the run, they always find a way of fighting back or turning the tables, be it on Harvey Keitel’s cop on their trail (assisted by Stephen Tobolowsky!), Michael Madsen as Louise’s boyfriend Jimmy, Brad Pitt’s first major film role as clothes-shedding hitchhiker J.D. or Christopher McDonald as Thelma’s boorish husband Darryl, eager to get his wife back so she can start making his dinner again.
There’s some great comedy – Darryl unable to watch his beloved football because the cops tapping his phone are too engrossed with Cary Grant in Penny Serenade – and though the story and ending may have been ruined by an overabundance of pop-culture spoofs and references, it is still a very good story. The accents begin to grate after a while, particularly Davis’ pronunciation of Loo-eese, but try to look beyond that at a journey that starts with an accident, and builds to become two strong female characters exploring their own limits, surprising themselves and everyone else.
Choose film 7/10