“Thelma & Louise” can be definitely considered one of the films with the most unexpected and memorable endings, so memorable that it is even often referenced or parodied by the script-writers of many other movies. The movie makes one think about that uncombined feeling of sweetness and bitterness that appears in the end. On the other hand, such an unpredictable ending is not that surprising, as it is obvious throughout scenes that the two main female characters are emotionally exhausted, and cannot think logically anymore.
The Problem of Gender Roles in “Thelma & Louise”
“Thelma & Louise” is also a manifestation of the complexities between the opposite sexes, strongly outlining the painful issue of gender roles in the American society. The women are depicted as the developing characters who through a row of mishaps and mistakes finally come to a certain conclusion about the position in their life, whereas men’s roles, particularly their husband and boyfriend’s, are the opposite – they seem not to understand, support, or care at all about the wife and girlfriend.
The accident, which occurs with women on their way, is a turning point in the peaceful but unsatisfied pace of their lives. Hesitance and insecurity of the two women as if reflect constant worries of so many women who are drowning in their unhappy relationship or routine families which do not seem to have even a slight sparkle of life in their hearths. The desire for adventures, though, is not dead, and one day Thelma and Louise break the boring circle.
Rita Kempley’s Review of the Movie
Rita Kempley’s review of the movie for the Washington Post totally corresponds to my comprehension of the movie. I find “Thelma & Louise” to be a very educative piece, however, with a very discouraging ending. This ending definitely fails the movie, the characters, and first of all the female audience. I have come to such a conclusion mainly because of the feministic motifs which are clearly seen throughout the plot, however, the director totally fails to show the success the female crave for freedom and equality can have. On the opposite, the director as if stresses that if women do not try to put up with the already established order of the purely men’s world, they will succumb to the unhappy existence or will be destroyed by the male rules they do not want to accept.
Rita Kempley’s remark concerning the borrowed ploy seems to be to me quite allegoric and refers not to some other movie (though I do not deny that such a situation can be more than possible), but more to the everyday life of many women who are unable to find their destination in life. The movie appears to be like a parody to the whole feministic movement stressing that women’s emotionality and the lack of reasonable thinking can never help them win in the cruel and logical men’s world. This theory of mine can be proved by the constant male persecutions and misfortunes that Thelma and Louise have to encounter first with their own men, then on their way with all the killing and following. Therefore, Rita Kempley could have described the film as the one which fails to its characters and audience.
Thelma and Louise seem to become the outsiders by circumstances, however being adult people, the audience may demand more reason for their behavior as even their adventures and following problems are mostly self-inflicted and are the outcome of the illogical behavior. On the other hand, everyone should be allowed doing whatever they like until it does not bother the majority of other people and stands within the borders of the law. Thelma and Louise are deprived of such a choice. They can either follow the established way of things or do as they did – break a circle and be on their own but against the whole world. The director does not leave another choice but only dire death or life of caged birds.
Theme of Freedom in “Thelma & Louise”
Freedom is crucial in understanding happiness and the female characters of the film are not allowed this luxury. Their freedom means meaningless female behavior that lacks any logic, as many stereotyped, biased men can frequently think. Until the prejudice rules human relationship, no satisfaction and joy can enter it. Looking closer at the female characters, we would see how past and future are intertwined – Louise is a good example of the contemporary woman who has many ‘male’ features – a real businesswoman, strong and self-reliant. “O. K., just for a minute” is quite a parent-like agreement to Thelma’s wish to stop at the roadhouse. Thelma is less experienced, completely depends on her narrow-minded husband and represents the larger group of women of the 1950s. She is quite careless, however, fearful, causing all the problems to the friendly union.
An interesting character is Jimmy, Louise’s boyfriend, who can be called a real hunter for adventures as even after showing a lessened interest towards his girlfriend, after getting to know about her adventures, his interest is renewed: “Jimmy’s just like any other guy, he just loves the chase”. Jimmy is more like a progressive, modernized character who is way ahead of any stereotypes and suits Louise’s world perception very well. I think he can even be called like a male feminist who is broad-minded enough to recognize the equality for everyone without forgetting that he is a man and his girlfriend is a woman.
“Do the Right Thing” is a good example of the unexhaustive power of human hatred based on the stereotypes and inability to cross the borders of one’s own mind. Roger Ebert says the right thing that the racial discrimination is already so deeply embed in our life that we do not even notice its existence, however, with each breath we inhale air full of the hatred towards African Americans.
Roger Ebert’s reference to the importance of Spike Lee’s empathy to the film is a sign of recognition of the overpowering force of human emotions – sympathy, compassion, understanding and support. People cannot untie the firm bonds of the social environment with which they are so closely intertwined, therefore, they have to learn to cooperate with one another. The heroes of the movie prove to be quite good at cooperating, but as soon as the situations becomes more complicated, people give up on trying.
I find Mookie’s behavior as ‘the right thing’ because you should always know where you stand and sometimes it is very good to imitate that the ship drowns so all the rats can run away from it. Similarly, Mookie makes people reveal their true faces and attitudes. On the other hand, it is a direct act of violence which should not be encouraged. Yet, this act only proves that despite the legal equality between the races, people still cherish hatred and humiliating attitude towards each other. Fights for equality and human rights are nothing without real empathy that comes deep from the heart diminishing any thought about racism, and bringing up to the world that first of all we are humans who are searching their destination in life. Violence is the opposite to empathy and brings only destruction with it. The female characters are a good example of the softness and that empathy in the movie who despite anything remain understanding and supportive of those they love. No violence can be justified, even the one which is conducted for the sake of the whole nation as violence can only entangle violence and this chain reaction will never stop, as Louise and Thelma, Mookie and Sal prove.