Watching the film, Thelma and Louise, through the lens of race and gender issues was very empowering. Watching Thelma develop her confidence and character as the film progressed was entertaining and empowering. It was also great to see Louise make a firm decision, stick by and plan for her escape.
I was somewhat happy and sad about the ending scene of this film. Thelma and Louise did not want to be caught or killed by the hands of the law. It was great to see that the ladies won, in a sense, when driving off of the cliff at the end of the film so that they didn’t surrender to the law enforcement officers that cornered them. However, it was disappointing to know that the way that these characters’ won is by killing themselves. When carefully analyzed the ending points to limitations placed on female heroic characters and on the overall accepted formula of denouement in film.
It is important for filmmakers to question the convention in film that ultimately allows the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose. This film was heavy with resistance against the American legal system and stereotypical way of thinking. I believe that the ending deserved atypical treatment from the filmmakers and writers in which the “bad guys” or girls in this case, should have one, and the “good guys” or the cops, should have lost.
When Thelma and Louise drove off of the cliff, the ultimate goal of beating the messed up system in America fell short. It would have been great to see the women achieve their goal by cleverly making it to the border in just enough time for the police to miss capturing them. A scene like this was found in the film, “Blue Streak,” in which the corrupt character played by Martin Lawrence, ultimately wins against the law because he unexpectedly ends up just on the other side of the border where the United States law had no power to prosecute him for his alleged crimes.
Another reason why the convention of good guys win should have been broken is to give viewers hope for continuation of the legacy and spirit of Thelma and Louise. Life after the film for the heroic female characters is totally diminished because the characters are no longer alive. Viewers are unable to continue their suspended disbelief for the characters. Thus, viewers automatically know that there will be no sequel to these women’s stories. Using that convention in this case, ultimately tells viewers that women who are backed into a corner that leads to legal issues in America have two choices: To surrender and be prosecuted in a biased American judicial system, or to end their lives. However, by allowing a denouement in which the good girls when against the system, this film could have relayed a message to viewers that tells them that the plight of women in America isn’t limited at all, and women can be truly just as powerful, if not more, than men.