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Thelma & Louise: a Film About Friendship and Freedom

Disclaimer: This article includes spoilers

Trigger warning: Suicide 

Whenever I think of the ultimate female dynamic duo in a movie I can’t help but think of the iconic 1991 film Thelma & Louise. This iconic movie is the true embodiment of two women who would kill or die for each other as they both fight for their friendship and freedom. 

The film tells the story of two best friends, Thelma a ditzy housewife characterized by Geena Davis, and Louise an uptight independent waitress played by Susan Sarandon. Thelma is a sedate housewife who has to deal with a controlling and lousy husband that she married at a very young age. Unlike Thelma, Louise is an independent waitress who is on and off with her musician boyfriend who is always on the road. As an attempt to finally let down their hair and let loose from their lives the duo settles on a girl’s trip and plans out a weekend of fishing. Unfortunately, the trip goes nothing as planned as they encounter a dark turn of events that changes their lives forever. 

While on their way to the campsite the pair stops at a nightclub to grab something to eat, Thelma let’s go of that sedate housewife and begins dancing with Harlan a flirtatious stranger from the bar. Although Louise is uncomfortable with the situation, she allows Thelma to enjoy her time in the dancefloor before they make their way out. As Louise goes to the bathroom a drunken Thelma is let out by Harlan to get some fresh air. While they are outside Harlan becomes aggressive and tries to rape Thelma as she tries to escape from him. When Louise comes out and sees the situation she pulls out a gun and threatens Harlan with it. Harlan lets go of Thelma and mocks the two women. This only infuriates Louise more and shoots Harlan dead. The two then flee from the scene afraid that the police would not believe that it was an act of self-defense. 

As the movie continues we see the evolution of Thelma and Louise as they realize they no longer have to conform to their old lives and they decide to fight for their freedom even when it means a long trail of crime and wild police pursuit. The pair proves their unbreakable bond by deciding to flee together to Mexico and leave everything behind as their lives as outlaws begins. 

Even if you’re not into adventure and crime films the friendship in this film will make you wish on a friendship like Thelma and Louise’s. Both women prove their loyalty towards each other by never blaming the other one for the mess they were in. Instead, they always stuck together even if it meant the situation would not be easy. Another way they proved their loyalty was by looking after one another even if it meant killing and robbing a store. Not saying that’s what you should do in a friendship, but you get the point. 

If you haven’t seen the film yet and don’t want the ending to be spoiled you might not want to read this next part. Lastly, their friendship proved to be the most iconic by deciding to not turn themselves in as police surrounded them and instead chose to drive off a cliff together. Together throughout this wild journey, they learned to no longer settle in life and they eventually found their freedom again even when it meant they had to kill or be killed for each other. Again, I’m not saying that freedom comes at the price of committing murder or suicide, but I believe that as a fictional story these characters carry out a great message as to how women should no longer settle and should go out to find their true selves. 


Theme Week: Female Relationships

Ayleen Escalante is a New Mexico State University Student studying journalism and mass communications with an emphasis on strategic communications.
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