Thelma and Louise: Empowering Women Through Cinema
In Ridley Scott’s film, Thelma and Louise are illustrated as victims throughout most of the film, this is seen through the lighting, the settings and costumes.
In the beginning of the film, as the main protagonists are being introduced, the flat lighting reflects the two characters’ emotional state. The lighting isn’t very toned and has a bluish hue, further emphasizing how the characters feel trapped and how bleak their environments are. In fact, the setting of Thelma’s home is depicted as a very typical middle class house, in addition to being incredibly messy and unpleasant. Louise’s restaurant where she works is perceived as a low class diner, very simple and crowded. Not very appealing as well. Finally, the costumes also reflect their emotional state, Thelma in a bathrobe suggests she is a housewife and Louise’s simple waitress outfit illustrates her very simple life as a waitress in a small diner. These elements show how uncomplicated and uninteresting the lives they lead are. These elements also set the tone as being very bland and unwelcoming to prove that these women are victims of an unhealthy lifestyles.
Furthermore, Thelma is also the victim of an abusive relationship, since her husband is very controlling of her, as she needed his permission to go with Louise. In addition, after the murder of the man in the club, the women were seen as incredibly insecure and unsure what to do, further emphasizing their roles as victims. However, in the end, these women are able to break free of the initial lifestyle and they become heroes who were able to surpass their struggles, since in the end, the lighting got warmer, the setting were more symbolic and their costumes changed to prove the freedom they felt. The film’s ending had a message of the celebration of freedom that Thelma and Louise felt. Despite the tragic element, the ending was still quite empowering and a happy ending. The message behind it was how the women found their freedom, and weren’t ready to give it up, so they were literally ready to die for what they believed in. Thelma and Louise is a transformative story about once passive women, finding their independence and strength in one of the most transformative and important movies of contemporary filmmakers.
Written By: K. Wells
Image: Pathé Entertainment