Feedback for Thelma and Louise Essay (Visual Text)

Hi I’d really appreciate it if I could get some feedback for my Thelma and Louise essay + potential grade it would be awarded.

Statement - The characters who matter most are those who lead us to the understanding of new ideas

The characters who matter most are those who lead us to the understanding of new ideas, finds exceptional resonance in Ridley Scott’s 1991 film Thelma & Louise. It underscores the pivotal role that characters play in shaping a narrative, propelling the story forward and profoundly influencing how the audience perceives essential themes and concepts. Thelma and Louise, the film’s central characters, epitomise this concept. What initially seems like an ordinary weekend road trip takes a gripping and unexpected turn, challenging established societal norms and expectations. Through their transformative journey and audacious choices, they emerge as a driving force, compelling the audience to embrace fresh perspectives on the intricacies of criminality, freedom, and the profound dynamics of friendship. In this way, Thelma and Louise serve as a powerful catalyst, guiding us toward a profound comprehension of these thought-provoking new ideas.

Criminality looms as a central theme, offering a portal through which the audience can grasp new perspectives. The protagonists, Thelma and Louise, navigate this theme by confronting the oppressive forces in their lives, resorting to criminal acts as both a means of escape and an assertion of their newfound agency. The film shows the evolution of these characters as they grapple with the temptations of criminality, while also examining society’s complicity in pushing them to this point. Their interactions with criminality are evident in their decision-making. For instance, Thelma’s rebellion against her domineering husband Darryl takes a dramatic turn when she robs a convenience store, displaying a departure from her formerly timid existence. This criminal act is both an assertion of her newfound independence and a response to the societal norms that had previously constrained her. Louise, too, faces the spectre of criminality when she kills Harlan in an act of self-defence. This incident not only propels them on a cross-country escape but also symbolises the inescapable consequences of patriarchal control and the violence it begets. Director Ridley Scott utilises these instances to illustrate how Thelma and Louise, though criminalised, are far from mere outlaws; they are compelling, three-dimensional characters who defy convention and societal expectations. Thelma’s quote, “No we shouldn’t but I want to put some distance between us and the scene of our last goddamn crime!” occurs after they rob a gas station. In this moment, Thelma’s words reflect their growing audacity and the urgency of escaping the consequences of their actions. Scott employs visual techniques, such as dimly lit and claustrophobic framing, to emphasise the gravity of the characters’ moral and legal conundrum. These techniques envelop the audience in the moral ambiguity of the situation, inviting us to ponder the societal norms that may have steered these women toward a life of criminality.

Thelma and Louise’s friendship is deeply rooted in their shared history and the unique dynamic that develops as they face a series of challenges throughout the film including a violent encounter at a bar and a consequential act of self-defence that transforms them into fugitives. At the outset, their friendship is characterised by a subtle hierarchy, with Louise taking on a protective and guiding role, and Thelma, in a sense, initially deferring to her. This hierarchical dynamic emerges from their differing personalities and life experiences. Louise, as the more experienced and assertive of the two, becomes a maternal figure for Thelma. Her tough exterior and assertiveness suggest that she is the one who knows the ropes, and she often takes charge in their decisions and actions. However, this hierarchy within their friendship undergoes a significant transformation as the characters confront a series of increasingly perilous situations. Thelma’s personal growth and empowerment become evident as she gains self-confidence and independence. Her character evolves from a somewhat naive and dependent woman into a resilient and assertive individual who is willing to take control of her own life. The turning point in their friendship and the balance of power is palpable. Thelma’s declaration, “No matter what happens, I’m glad I came with you,” is a crucial moment that marks her newfound strength and autonomy. This statement is not merely an expression of gratitude but also a realization that her journey with Louise has empowered her to stand up for herself and make choices based on her own desires and convictions. The lack of background in the close-up shot isolates the characters’ faces, focusing the viewer’s attention solely on their emotional exchange. The shot remains steady, underscoring the gravity of her statement. Their friendship, in its evolution, transcends the conventional bounds of mentorship and dependency. It becomes a partnership of equals, where both women learn from each other and draw strength from their bond. Louise, in turn, learns to rely on Thelma’s resourcefulness and resilience. The two become a united front, facing the world on their own terms and defying societal expectations of women in their time. This shift in the nature of their friendship carries a significant commentary on female empowerment and solidarity. It reflects the idea that women can uplift and inspire each other, fostering personal growth and mutual support in a world that often seeks to limit their potential.

Thelma’s pursuit of freedom is profoundly entwined with her relationship with Darryl and the constraints he imposes on her life. At the film’s outset, it is glaringly apparent that Thelma’s existence is marked by a stifling absence of personal freedom, a situation largely attributed to the suffocating and oppressive nature of her marriage to Darryl. His treatment of Thelma becomes emblematic of the severe limitations placed upon her. Darryl’s possessive and patronising behaviour is clearly evident as he dictates her actions and stifles her individuality. This control extends to her very ability to travel, a vital expression of personal freedom that Darryl has withheld from her. The quote, “I’ve never had the chance to go out of town without Darryl,” encapsulates the profound implications of Thelma’s limited freedom within her marriage. An over-the-shoulder shot is utilised emphasising the emotional connection between Thelma and the audience as her words convey the depth of her longing for freedom.It reveals that her life has been tightly controlled by Darryl, to the extent that even a simple act like traveling out of town is forbidden without his presence. This moment carries a significant commentary on the constraints imposed upon women in the late 20th century and the repercussions of such oppressive relationships. Thelma’s underscores the lack of personal agency and independence that women like her experienced, despite their desires for autonomy. It invites us to contemplate the broader societal norms and gender expectations that curtail women’s freedom. Her journey, which evolves from this point, becomes a symbol of women reclaiming their independence, defying the constraints of societal expectations and oppressive relationships.

Ultimately, Thelma and Louise exemplifies how central characters can profoundly shape our perception of new ideas. As a feminist road movie, “Thelma & Louise” adheres to the conventions of the genre by portraying women on a transformative journey of self-discovery and liberation. Yet, it rises above the norm to become a cultural touchstone that compels women to question conventions, aspire for more, and defy the status quo. In the world of 2023, much has changed for women, with new opportunities and a louder collective voice. “Thelma & Louise” reminds us of the progress that has been made while underscoring the work that remains to be done. It continues to serve as a guiding light, motivating women to assert their place in an ever-evolving, more equitable world.

Kia ora Izzy - welcome to Studyit!

I have recategorised this into the Level three section as I believe from your statement you are responding to that this is in fact a L3 essay?

Nice clear intro - clear what your argument will be and how you are tackling the question.

In paragraph one the argument is well framed with some examples. As I was reading I was looking for some visual features which you have used here - " Scott employs visual techniques, such as dimly lit and claustrophobic framing, to emphasise the gravity of the characters’ moral and legal conundrum." - It would be better to be a little more specific, it was a bit unclear what is within the frame for example - more description is needed as to how these techniques are being used .

That said - this is very well done, shows sophistication and perception. To ensure you are at a nice secure E - I would suggest that you are careful to be more explicit in your discussion of the director. It is implied that things are being done purposefully in the film - but it would be easy to weave in some “Here Scott underscores” and "Scott cleverly uses this to… and “The director masterfully includes an over the shoulder shot to…” This covers off both the purpose part of the marking schedule and also shows evaluation with adverbs about how the author is doing things.

Well done - hope that helps :slight_smile:

I’ve added this to para 1 following your feedback! - Additionally, Scott’s cinematography makes strategic use of framing and camera angles to highlight the characters’ emotional turmoil. For instance, when Thelma and Louise are faced with a pivotal decision, the camera closes in on their faces, capturing every nuance of their expressions as they grapple with their choices. This technique immerses the audience in the emotional intensity of the moment and underscores the moral dilemmas the characters face.