Great Britain

Susan Sarandon recalls ‘white male’ backlash to Thelma & Louise

Susan Sarandon has reflected on the backlash to one of her most famous films, Thelma & Louise.

The 1991 road movie starred Sarandon and Geena Davis as two women who run away to Mexico after one of them kills their attempted rapist.

While the portrayal of the leads as daring, independent women who put their female friendships first was praised by many as an empowering step towards gender equality in Hollywood, some critics were not so keen.

“I completely underestimated that we were backing into territory held by white heterosexual males,” said Sarandon at a 30th anniversary reunion event.

“They got offended and accused us of glorifying murder and suicide and all kinds of things. It didn’t seem like a big deal, it seemed like it was unusual that there would be a woman that you could be friends with in a film. Normally, if there were two women in a film, you automatically hated each other for some reason. … Next thing we knew, all hell broke loose.”

Davis, meanwhile, added: “The reaction from women was so strong and nothing I’d ever seen before. It made me realise how few opportunities we have for women to come out [of] a movie feeling empowered by the female character.”

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