Thelma and Louise (1991) poster

One of the great pleasures of childhood is reading or watching something that’s “too old for you.”

I saw Thelma and Louise in a movie theater when I was 10 years old. 

The harsher parts of the story went over my head—I don’t think I had any concept of rape, and probably assumed the man assaulting Thelma was just beating her up.

I also wasn’t particularly bothered by them driving off a cliff at the end.  (Spoiler alert!)

What my 10 year-old self took away from the movie was the image of two badass women who were living life on their own terms and not taking shit from anyone.

I thought it was awesome when Thelma told her husband to go “F” himself and Louise shot out the tires of a foul-mouthed trucker.

I wanted to be just like them.

There’s an accompanying adult pleasure in revisiting one of these works you saw as a child and discovering a deeper, more layered story inside that’s only just now accessible to you.

I didn’t see Thelma and Louise again until an I took an introductory film class in college, and when I did I found a much different film than the one I remembered. 

In that class I learned that Thelma and Louise was about women escaping the confinement of their lives.  It was a female road movie in which the main characters reevaluated their role in society.

Thelma and Louise were feminist icons.  Their story was an indictment of the patriarchy.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I saw all that too the second time around.

But I still think it’s pretty awesome when Thelma tells Darryl to go “F” himself.

This is part of my Movies I’m Grateful For series, running daily through the month of November. 

Other films include: Splash | New Moon | The Lucky One