My Rating ~ Four stars
RELEASE DATE: 28 May 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Thelma & Louise, directed by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri, sparked a remarkable public discussion about feminism, violence, and the representation of women in cinema on its release in 1991. Subject to media vilification for its apparent justification of armed robbery and manslaughter, it was a huge hit with audiences composed largely but not exclusively of women who cheered the fugitive central characters played by Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis.
Marita Sturken examines Thelma & Louise as one of those rare films that encapsulates the politics of its time. She discusses the film’s reworking of the outlaw genre, its reversal of gender roles, and its engagement with the complex relationship of women, guns adn the law. The insights of director Scott, screenwriter Khouri as well as Davis and Sarandon are deployed in an analysis of Thelma & Louise and the controversies it sparked. This is a compelling study of a landmark in 1990s American cinema.
In her foreword to this new edition, Sturken looks back on the film’s reception at the time of its release, and considers its continuing resonances and topicality in the age of #MeToo.
Thankyou to Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Have you ever had a film that just stuck with you forever? I was a teenager in the 90’s and Thelma & Louise was one of my all time favourite movies. Not only was it one of the first movies I saw that showed kick-ass women, not only in a sci-fi, fantasy world way, but a real life, with real issues way, I remember thinking it was a film with the lot. Funny one moment and tragic and uncomfortable the next, it took me on a ride I’ll never forget.
This little book explores some of the themes in the movie and the subsequent feelings of the general public after it screened. It certainly caused a lot of conversation in its day – from those who loved it and saw it as the ultimate feminist movie, to those who saw it as a dangerous revenge film, that only sought to demonise and hate on men. No matter how much controversy it caused, it definitely got people talking. I loved the discussions about Thelma’s character arc in this book, I’ve always thought her transformation from a naive, slightly dippy housewife, under the control of her condescending husband, to a terrified women not knowing what to do and looking to Louise for all the answers, to a confident, charismatic character, who took the lead when she needed to, was amazing. At the time I was still used to seeing fairly one dimensional women characters in movies – they were the naive housewife or the tough chick or the smart girl etc, but not all.
And look, the women were the stars of the show, obviously, but did my heart still race just a little at the photo’s of hitchhiker JD (Brad Pitt) in the book? Yes ma’am it did.
If you’re a fan of Thelma & Louise and want a nostalgic trip down memory lane, pick up this cute little book, full of movie stills and memorable quotes, as well as an in-depth discussion of the thoughts behind the movie.
Photo via my Instagram account – Bookbookowl