Friday, 30 September 2011

Film Review: THELMA & LOUISE (1991)

Thelma and Louise poster Director: Ridley Scott
Running time: 125 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Crime/Drama
UK Release date: 12th July 1991

Watched on Sky+ Friday 30th September 2011.


Ridley Scott directed some of my favourite films and so I thought I’d take a look at some of his other works. I must admit to having seen this one before, but I only remember bits and pieces of the story. It was nice to see it again so I could cast my critical eye over it. It’s great to look at with some iconic American scenery, not to mention Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis! I enjoyed it although there were a couple of niggles that I will tell you about after this brief summary.

TaL-1 Repressed housewife Thelma decides to not tell her husband, Darryl, when she goes off on a trip with her friend Louise Sawyer. They are headed to a cabin in the mountains for a couple of days fishing and chillin’ out. On the way they stop at a bar for something to eat and things get a bit out of hand; I won’t say how or why (spoilers), but it is pretty serious. They make a break for it and hole up in a motel while they decide what to do. Eventually Louise makes the decision that they will escape to Mexico. For this they will need money and her boyfriend, Jimmy, proves to be the solution to that. Meanwhile the police, in the guise of Hal and Max are on their trail. Add to the mix a young hitchhiker called J.D. that Thelma takes a shine to and we got us a road trip to remember! I won’t say any more or the Spoiler Police will be tailing me right to the edge of the Grand Canyon.

TaL-2 As I’ve already mentioned, this film is beautifully shot with some fantastically cinematic moments. Ridley Scott certainly has an eye for these things and they are a feature of all of his films. I couldn’t fault any of the performances either; Susan Sarandon as Louise Sawyer and Geena Davis as Thelma are both fantastic. Harvey Keitel did an excellent job as the caring cop, Hal, as did Michael Madsen as Jimmy. Also worthy of note were Christopher McDonald as Darryl and Stephen Tobolowsky (whose podcast is great by the way… link below), as Max. Oh, and there was this young actor… eye-candy (for the ladies) really… some guy called Brad Pitt played the part of J.D.

TaL4 I said at the beginning that I had a couple of niggles, well, here goes, one is that the film starts off really well and then has a bit of a dull stodgy middle part before picking up again towards the end. I see this far too often in films and it’s beginning to get a bit old (for me) I’m afraid. Secondly, I found the film a little too long, cut out some of the stodgy middle and I would have been a little happier. Ok, that’s all for the niggles. I found there was a lot more humour in it than I remember, but it was quite sporadic. The ending was very touching and did make up for some of the niggles, (but not all of them). The musical score mostly consists of Country songs, but I much preferred the incidental music by Hans Zimmer, in fact I had a bet that he wrote it while I was watching the film! I now owe myself a pint. Over all, though, I still thought this film was great, superb performances, great cinematography, some great music, oh, and a pretty good plot too… Recommended.

My Score: 7.8/10.

IMDb Score: 7.3/10 (based on 50,471 votes at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92/100 (based on 50 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

If you’re crazy enough… You can find me on Facebook at:

Louise Sawyer: [talking about their cabin vacation in the mountains later in the day] You mean you haven't asked him yet? Thelma, for Christ's sake. Thelma, is he your husband, or your father. It's just two days for God's sake. Don't be a child. Tell him you're with me.
[grins mischieviously]
Louise Sawyer: Tell him I'm having a nervous breakdown.
Thelma Dickerson: That don't carry much weight with Darryl. He already thinks you're out of your mind.


[the ladies are just starting off on their road trip. Thelma lifts out Darryl's pistol]
Thelma: Oh, Louise, umm, will you take care of this gun?
Louise: What in hell did you bring that for?
Thelma: Oh, come on! Psycho killers, or bears or snakes? I just don't know how to use it. Will you take care of it?
Louise: Put it away! Just, here, put it in my purse. Thelma, good lord!


Louise Sawyer: You shoot off a guy's head with his pants down, believe me, Texas ain't the place you want to get caught.

The Tobolowsky files (more details here):

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