How to take life by the balls

WILD and free! Louise (Susan Sarandon) and Thelma (Geena Davis). Photograph courtesy imdb.

WHO WERE YOU in 1991? A film that rocked the equilibrium of women in western society was penned and first saw light of day that year. Thelma and Louise continues to be as relevant, as tight and as wise as it was 30 years ago. If you saw it then, or even if you didn’t, it’s back.

One of the brilliant things about platforms such as Showmax or Netflix is that they can offer slices of nostalgia that are as much about you as they are about the history of filmmaking. Ridley Scott’s iconic Thelma and Louise, is a recent release on Showmax.

And for a paean to the courage of women in a world of men who can do and say what they like, it hasn’t lost a speck of its original sheen or chutzpah, in fact, it is so fantastically retro in its production design, that it is perhaps even more delicious now than it ever was.

Featuring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis in the leads, this snappy, sexy and cheeky film is more than about giving the finger to the abusive husband and hitting the road with your girlfriends. It’s about the power of women friends, about getting laid properly and the seriousness of priorities.

The two women go for a weekend away, but a bad incident with a stranger at a bar en route, finds them on the other side of the law, and the party gets wilder as the seriousness of their crime becomes known – and multiplies out of a mix of desperation and bravado.

With simple premises, the work is about the glorious flash of freedom that a maverick solution presents. It’s about grabbing everything you have and taking it to the limits. An essay in courage, that buttonholed the world by its soul and reached idiomatic levels, Thelma and Louise is a film that any self-respecting film watcher should have in their heads.

It’s also a lesson in clean narrative. By focusing on the tale itself, the work, which features an exceptionally strong yet simple screenplay, offers a foray into many things, from the sexism of the state of Texas to the folly of the law, American urban landscape, to the comeuppance that rude men get, yet it doesn’t digress by an inch in the trailblazing path it cuts, through human society, mistakes, coincidences and actions. This film boasts a denouement that carries its story to an end that is never about backing down, but about holding up a flame to the value of being alive, free and at a peak of potency. It is fire!

Thelma and Louise is directed by Ridley Scott and features a cast headed by Jason Beghe, Timothy Carhart, Geena Davis, Sonny Carl Davis, Michael Delman, Shelly Desai, Rob Roy Fitzgerald, Lucinda Jenney, Harvey Keitel, Jack Lindine, Michael Madsen, Carol Mansell, Christopher McDonald, Brad Pitt, Stephen Polk, Kristel L Rose, Susan Sarandon, Ken Swofford, Stephen Tobolowsky and Noel L Walcott. Written by Callie Khouri, it is produced by Mimi Polk Gitlin and Ridley Scott, and features creative input by Hans Zimmer (music), Adrian Biddle (director of photography), Thom Noble (editing), Louis DiGiaimo (casting), Norris Spencer (production design) and Elizabeth McBride (costumes). It is available on ShowMax.

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