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Thelma & Louise Revisited

Thelma & Louise Revisited

Two Films + Discussion
Free; registration required.


It’s been 32 years since Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis drove into history in this road movie that was supposed to change everything. It was one of the most talked-about films of 1991 and screenwriter Callie Khouri won an Oscar, a Bafta and a Golden Globe. Back then, many people thought we were entering a new era of gender equality on the big screen, but others believed the movie represented “toxic feminism”. Part romantic-comedy, part Western, part action-packed drama, part Bonnie-and-Clyde-style thriller, this is a darkly humorous film about outlaw women and the power of friendship. It is also a film about sexual violence and rape culture. The film’s treatment of sexual violence and a justice system stacked against women continues to elicit strong reactions from viewers and social critics around the world.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During this month, people and organizations around the United States raise awareness about sexual violence and prevention. Through screening the following two films this month, we hope to engage our community in conversation about sexual violence, its impact on society, how we can support victims, and what we can do to create a safer and more respectful and equitable world. We will also dive into the cultural significance of the original 1991 film and explore the issues raised in the documentary.

Film 1: Thelma & Louise (1991; Rated: R; Runtime: 129 mins.)
Wednesday, April 12 @ 1 pm
Meek housewife Thelma (Geena Davis) joins her friend Louise (Susan Sarandon), an independent waitress, on a short fishing trip. However, their trip becomes a flight from the law when Louise shoots and kills a man who tries to rape Thelma at a bar. Louise decides to flee to Mexico, and Thelma joins her.

Film 2: Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise (2019; Not Rated; Runtime: 54 mins.)
Wednesday, April 19 @ 1 pm
Powerful, authentic, and timely, this documentary dives off the edge into the truth of women’s experience in the world. It revisits the journey of Thelma & Louise through the lens of viewers who saw that iconic film in 1991 and shared intimate, personal, stories at that time. The same women and men were tracked down 25 years later. Are their responses different now? Has anything changed in the way women are treated?

Interview commentary mixes with clips from “Thelma & Louise” to reveal why this cinema classic continues to resonate with millions of viewers, the world over. Christopher McDonald, who played Thelma’s husband, and Marco St. John, who played the truck driver, offer an insider’s viewpoint.

Dr. Jane Caputi, Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University, will introduce the documentary and moderate a post-film discussion.

About Dr. Caputi: She is Professor of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Florida Atlantic University and has written four books, most recently Call Your “Mutha’”: A Deliberately Dirty-Minded Manifesto for the Earth Mother in the Anthropocene (Oxford University Press, 2020). She also has made two educational documentaries, The Pornography of Everyday Life (2006) distributed by Berkeley Media and Feed the Green: Feminist Voices for the Earth (2016), distributed by Women Make Movies.
Dr. Caputi was FAU’s Distinguished Teacher for 2001 and received FAU’s Research and Scholarly Activities award (Professor level) for 2005 and for 2012. In 2016, she was named Eminent Scholar of the Year by the American Culture/Popular Culture Association and in 2020 the Association for the Study of Women in Mythology gave her their annual “Saga Award” for contributions to women’s history and culture. She loves the film Thelma and Louise.