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When they floored their Thunderbird off a cliff rather than surrender to the law, Thelma and Louise became icons of female rebellion, provoking strong reactions from viewers who felt either empowered or outraged by the duo's transgressions of women's traditional roles. The 1991 film quickly became—and continues to be—a potent cultural reference point, even inspiring a bumper sticker that declares, "Thelma & Louise Live!"
In this insightful study of Thelma & Louise, six noted film scholars investigate the initial reception and ongoing impact of this landmark film. The writers consider Thelma & Louise from a variety of perspectives, turning attention to the film's promotion and audience response over time; to theories of comedy and the role of laughter in the film; to the film's soundtrack and score; to the performances of stars Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis; to the emergence of Brad Pitt as a star and male sex object; and to the film's place in the history of road and crime film genres. Complementing the scholarly analysis is an in-depth interview of screenwriter Callie Khouri by editor Bernie Cook, as well as reviews of Thelma & Louise that appeared in U.S. News & World Report and Time.
Offering myriad new ways of understanding the complex interrelations of gender, identity, and violence, Thelma & Louise Live! attests to the ongoing life and still-evolving meanings of this now-classic film.