"In Thelma & Louise, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, two large-scaled women, beautiful and gloriously eccentric, climb into a 1966 Thunderbird . . . and hit the road. . . . For them, liberty is an erotic experience that just keeps going--they don't want it to end. . . .
". . . . The men are taken seriously enough, but the relationship between the two women is the central thing, volatile and always funny, and a triumph for both actresses. . . .
". . . . A man's woman who has been forced, by circumstances, into a much tougher attitude towards men than she started out with, Louise is always decisive, but she grabs so hard at reality she wrests it out of shape. Sarandon has played women like Louise before but never with so much power and conviction or with so many shadings of cheerfulness and bitterness. Large and voluminous, with flashing eyes that once seemed to pop out of her head, Sarandon has much greater concentration now, a new hardness around her mouth that plays off nicely against the fleshy softness of the rest of her. After Bull Durham, White Palace, and Thelma & Louise, she has become the voice and image of experience in American movies. By comparison, a great technician like Meryl Streep seems lightweight and merely skillful. . . . [How Denby vacillates on Streep!]
". . . . Pursued, and broke, [Thelma and Louise] slip further into criminality . . . Robbery excites Thelma, and as she grows bolder, the relationship shifts. After long deploring Thelma's naivete [two dots over i and a mark over second e], Louise is astonished and then possessed by Thelma's new daring. Sarandon's eyes widen in disbelief.
"I'm still disturbed by Ridley Scott's tendency to make pretty pictures. He works up a terrific rhythm between Sarandon and Davis, but then, as if he didn't trust his characters, he interrupts what's going on to make a wordless montage or an automaobile commercial . . . . But still, for the director of Alien and Black Rain, this is a big step forward. Thelma & Louise is wonderfully acted from top to bottom, and it's full of life and jokes and offbeat perceptions. Ridley Scott has rid himself of the alien gnawing at his insides. People, it turns out, are more interesting in the long run, and Scott is shrewd enough to realize that the two women are the greatest subject in the world.
"Even men are interesting. . . .
"The men escape stereotype over and over. . . ."
New York, June 10, 1991