Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB. USA/France, 1991. Pathé Entertainment, Percy Main, Star Partners III Ltd., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Screenplay by Callie Khouri. Cinematography by Adrian Biddle. Produced by Mimi Polk Gitlin, Ridley Scott. Music by Hans Zimmer. Production Design by Norris Spencer. Costume Design by Elizabeth McBride. Film Editing by Thom Noble. Academy Awards 1991. Boston Film Critics Awards 1991. Golden Globe Awards 1991. National Board of Review Awards 1991. New York Film Critics Awards 1991.
So much has been said and written about this film and its politics since it was first released in 1991 that it’s a relief to watch it again and realize that it was all worth it. Ridley Scott’s brilliant road movie works on all levels: it’s a thoughtful and provocative examination of women’s issues in a world that encourages shame in situations of sexual victimization, and at the same time it’s a monumentally enjoyable and dark adventure about two gals, a convertible and a wide open road. Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon are both top-notch as two southern ladies who start out on a trip towards a friend’s cottage for the weekend but decide to stop at a roadside saloon for drinks. When Davis nearly gets raped in the parking lot by a guy who picks her up, Sarandon defends her and, owing to the dubious circumstances that result, the two go on a country-wide trip (and crime spree) that forces them to reevaluate their dysfunctional relationships with their men. They also take a second look at their own bond of friendship, for while some critics have accused the film of male-bashing, it actually seeks to examine the culture of southern women and their own judgments of each other and themselves (something that writer Callie Khouri’s next screenplay, Something To Talk About, would do under lighter circumstances).