Thelma and Louise

Movie review by
David Gurney, Common Sense Media
Thelma and Louise Movie Poster Image
Now-classic feminist road movie best for very mature teens.
  • R
  • 1991
  • 129 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It is important to take control of your own life and determine your own destiny (though the method Thelma and Louise choose is not recommended). At the same time, you must take responsibility for your actions. Women and girls do not have to accept being victimized, nor should they put up with tyrannical or predatory male behavior. Males should be held accountable for any misogynistic or paternalistic conduct.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Over the three-day odyssey portrayed in this film, both Thelma and Louise are transformed from easy targets of male oppression and/or neglect to mistresses of their own fate. They triumph over their victimhood and learn the value of friendship, independence and an indestructible spirit. That said, they engage in lots of illegal and other questionable behavior along the way. With one exception (a sympathetic law enforcement officer), the men are characterized as bullying, exploitive, ignorant, ruthless and/or dishonest.

Violence

A violent attempted rape sequence in which one of the two heroines is hit hard, mauled and has her clothes ripped. A fatal point blank shooting. A gun pulled on a police officer, he's forced into the trunk of his car. Lead characters blow up a tanker truck. Numerous car chases, crashes, explosions, and a dramatic suicide.

Sex

A sex scene between two consenting adults includes partial rear nudity, kissing, foreplay, and some brief glimpses of sexual activity. Other scenes contain some kissing and embracing between lovers.

Language

Continuous swearing throughout the film. Countless uses of: “f--k" (in many forms), "c--k,” "s--t," “a--hole,” "suck my d--k,” "Goddamn," “Jesus Christ" as an exclamation, “hell,” "bitches,” and more.

Consumerism

Logos for Coca Cola, Thunderbird, Texaco, Chevron, Union Oil, Ryder trucks.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcoholic beverages are consumed throughout, including while operating vehicles, and to excess upon numerous occasions. Drunken behavior gets the heroines in trouble early in the film, and they continue drinking as their plight intensifies. Louise is a non-stop smoker. Other characters, including Thelma, smoke frequently as well.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Thelma & Louise, which includes a graphic attempted rape, the violent on-camera shooting death of the rapist, further gunplay, suicide, lusty consensual sexual activity between two adults, non-stop strong language ("f--k," etc.), and frequent alcohol consumption and drunkenness is for mature viewers only. In addition, the film’s adult theme involves female oppression at the hands of men and their struggle -- at great cost -- for respect, independence, and free will.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byyuri13 October 14, 2014
It's really good!!!
Adult Written bySeymourB March 13, 2011

Politically correct hate is still hate.

The sexism in this movie pretty much matches the racism in "Birth of a Nation". It reflects the zeitgeist of a time when the mainstream media treated... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old May 30, 2010

Awesom

Loved it.A scene of rape,brief,with partial view of a penis,lots of language including f*** and c***,lots of beer,sensualality,and some violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bylainilala July 27, 2010

What's the story?

The titular heroes (or anti-heroes) of this movie, THELMA & LOUISE are two Arkansas women looking to get away from the men in their lives for a weekend of fun. Before they reach their destination, they stop off for a drink, but, when Thelma (Geena Davis) is almost raped, Louise (Susan Sarandon) shoots the would-be rapist. They then travel across the southwestern United States attempting to avert the law. Thelma and Louise take some rather strong actions against their aggressors throughout their journey, but their plight is not entirely their own. Rather, it's expressive of the oppression that many women experience in society. Thelma's husband doesn't listen to her and orders her around like a child; Louise's boyfriend is unwilling to commit and often drunk. Even a male hitchhiker with whom Thelma becomes involved ultimately leaves her after stealing her money. The one redeeming male character may be the sympathetic detective Hal Slocumb (Harvey Keitel) who tries to convince the women to surrender to the law, but his decent efforts are drowned out by the bombast of masculine aggression surrounding the women by the end of the film.

Is it any good?

Chock-full of great performances and dramatic scenes, this is one truly amazing film that crystallizes a moment in feminist social history for all time. Thelma & Louise made a huge splash when it was originally released in 1991, and it was as polarizing as it was popular. It's is an updated, feminized version of an outlaw road movie. Still quite potent today, the film's no-holds-barred approach to confronting the subservient position thrust upon females in society hasn't been matched in the time since its release. Note that scenes involving rape, the glorification of suicide, and destruction of property makes this film inappropriate for kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about if they think Thelma & Louise's actions were justified given their treatment by men. Why were they reluctant to turn themselves in? What does this movie say about gender politics?

  • Are Thelma and Louise positive role models or not?

  • How did the violence in the film affect you? What about the final scene? Was it exhilarating, depressing, something else?

Movie details

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