This Essay Discusses The Ways In Which The Films Entitled Thelma And Louise And Manny And Lo Represent Variations On The Road/Buddy Film Genre.It Will Examine The Concept Of The Male Gaze And Sub Verting/Returning The Gaze

1486 words - 6 pages

This essay will discuss the ways in which the films entitled Thelma and Louise and Manny and Lo represent variations on the road/buddy film genre. It will examine the concept of the male gaze and sub-verting/returning the gaze. The paper will explore how elements of these films such as scenery and camera work function to subvert the male gaze. This essay will argue that the films' use of females in a place traditionally occupied by males in road/ buddy films opposes patriarchal representations of women in film and sub-verts the male gaze, thus resisting the ways in which relationships between women are typically represented in classical Hollywood cinema.Manny and Lo depicts the journey of ...view middle of the document...

As the women journey to Mexico to escape the law they experience transitions in their identities, especially Thelma. She tells Louise, "I've always wanted to travel but I never got the opportunity".2 Later, Thelma indicates that she feels "wide awake... everything looks different, like I got something to look forward to".2 Thelma's comment reflects her changing identity as she rejects her role as a "little housewife"2 who needs the permission of her husband even to go away for the weekend. Panning and tracking shots of the contrasting 'wasteland' landscape and clear blue sky show the paradox between their status as fugitives and their sense of freedom as they journey to Mexico.Manny and Lo and Thelma and Louise contain elements of both the road trip and the buddy film as the sense of shared journey between the protagonists develops through collaboration in criminal activities. For instance, when Elaine is kidnapped Manny pretends she needs to buy something right before the store closes, thus allowing her older sister Lo to apprehend the clerk. The friendship between the sisters grows stronger as they learn to rely on each other through the film. In Thelma and Louise, the friendship between the women strengthens as they commit crimes ranging from murder to armed robbery to assaulting a police officer. The women's outlaw status symbolically reflects their rejection of patriarchal society. Also, both films depict individuals with opposite personalities, a feature of many buddy films. Lo is more apt to react emotionally, whereas Manny is more calm and rational. Louise is emotional and takes a leadership role while Thelma is naïve and almost innocent, allowing herself to be seduced by a roguish young man who steals their money. However, as the narrative develops Thelma becomes more confident, symbolically rejecting male domination by locking a police officer in the trunk of his cruiser to allow the women to escape capture.Thelma and Louise and Manny and Lo sub-vert the gender norms of typical buddy/road trip movies. The buddy film genre "mainly focuses on the relationships of men and their friendships, often strained and strengthened in the face of difficult situations or certain challenges".3 Manny and Lo and Thelma and Louise replace male friendships with female bonding but they conform to heterosexual gender norms. Buddy films with men often depict male-female romance as sub-plots in order to avoid a sense of homoeroticism, and Thelma and Louise is similar in the sense that it lacks lesbian connotations. As Kotsopoulos writes, "Thelma and Louise emphasizes the women's allegiance to each other in a positive way".3 In Manny and Lo, the girls are sisters so there is no sense of sexual attraction; rather, the girls face difficult challenges and instead of seeking help from men or crying they grow stronger and rely on each other or Elaine, in this way rejecting patriarchy while affirming their own independence.The use of predominantly female...

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