Thelma and Louise: Celebrating sisterhood and the refusal to drive between the lines

Updated 28 June 2018

Thelma and Louise: Celebrating sisterhood and the refusal to drive between the lines

  • Callie Khouri’s Oscar-winning screenplay lets us fall for our titular heroes despite their transgressions
  • And the pair’s dead-end decision sounds a note not of resignation or despair, but of fierce independence and bold audacity

Beginning with a murder and ending with the most memorable joint suicide since “Romeo and Juliet,” “Thelma and Louise” really shouldn’t have chalked up as a favorite feelgood movie. But despite this framing in bloodshed and tragedy, the 1991 Hollywood classic has gone on to earn a place as pop culture’s quintessential depiction of a girl power-fueled road trip.

The pervading moral handbook is thrown quickly to the winds of passing traffic. Callie Khouri’s Oscar-winning screenplay lets us fall for our titular heroes despite — and in part, because of — their transgressions: The pair’s refusal to play the victim, and reluctant-turned-rousing embrace of an outlaw life on the run, is what keeps the engine of this unlikely feminist manifesto humming.  

Taking refuge from an abusive partner and monotonous waitressing job, respectively, Thelma and Louise’s planned fishing weekend goes awry when the former (Geena Davis) is assaulted and the latter (Susan Sarandon) shoots the lewd culprit dead. It’s crucial for both the movie’s plot and the adjustment of our ethical compass that the trigger is pulled well after Thelma is out of the brute’s clutches: Stacked any way, it’s murder.

Yet it seems good sense that they flee the scene and a downright hoot when they lock a police trooper in his trunk at gunpoint. Naturally, this lark takes place on Route 66, behind the wheel of a beautiful turquoise 1966 Ford Thunderbird.

Despite being best known for historical, machismo-fueled epics (“Gladiator,” “Robin Hood”) and high-concept sci-fi (“Blade Runner,” “The Martian”), director Ridley Scott proves a sensitive director of women, eliciting career-defining — and Oscar-nominated — performances from both leads, who delicately navigate the script’s subtle tonal shifts between solemn drama, buddy comedy and getaway thriller.

At the movie’s much-parodied, iconic Grand Canyon close, the pair’s dead-end decision sounds a note not of resignation or despair, but of fierce independence and bold audacity. “Thelma and Louise” is a celebration of sisterhood, of overthrowing oppression and refusing to play by the rules.


Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s ‘Free Solo’ sweeps Creative Emmys

‘Free Solo’ follows Alex Honnold’s attempt to become the first person to climb El Capitan. (Supplied)
Updated 15 September 2019

Image Nation Abu Dhabi’s ‘Free Solo’ sweeps Creative Emmys

  • “Free Solo’” has won seven Creative Arts Emmy Awards
  • The documentary picked up every award for which it was nominated at Saturday’s ceremony in Los Angeles

DUBAI: Co-produced by Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the critically-acclaimed documentary “Free Solo’” has won seven Creative Arts Emmy Awards, adding to a slate of honors that already includes a BAFTA and an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

The documentary picked up every award for which it was nominated at Saturday’s ceremony in Los Angeles, including outstanding directing for a documentary/nonfiction program, outstanding cinematography, sound editing, sound mixing, picture editing, music composition and best achievement in interactive media.

Presented by National Geographic, directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin and co-produced by Image Nation, “Free Solo” follows Alex Honnold’s attempt to become the first person to climb El Capitan – a 3,000 foot high vertical rock in Yosemite National Park – with no ropes or safety gear.

The documentary was co-produced by Parkes+MacDonald, Image Nation, Little Monster Films and National Geographic.

"I think it always comes back to Alex, the diligence and discipline and teaching himself over the years," Vasarhelyi told the Hollywood Reporter backstage at Sunday’s award ceremony. "I think in terms of the Creative Arts Emmys, Alex brought so much craft to what he did, that all of us, every member of our team got a nomination. So it’s incredible to see the Academy appreciates the hard work that went into it."

In February, “Free Solo” won an Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards. After the ceremony Chin told reporters, “Hanging off the wall, I couldn’t see Alex Honnold below, and I just had to trust that he was just being perfect. We also had to carry the weight of the entire production being perfect, because if we made any mistakes, it could have been catastrophic.”

UAE-based fans were treated to a special screening of the film in March and chief content office of Image Nation Ben Ross shared his thoughts at the event.

“From the incredible reviews to the Academy Award and BAFTA wins, we are so proud that Image Nation Abu Dhabi and the UAE can say it helped to support this incredible film…It has been an honor to work with the National Geographic.”