Freeze frame in Thelma and Louise

If there was a list of my top 10 movies, there would be one thing connecting them all: They would be character driven. I already wrote a few posts about my favorite film American Beauty, and guess what – the movie is character driven.

Another character driven movie that I absolutely love is Thelma and Louise. Well, these movies resonate strongly with me, especially these days, when I’m trying to figure out what to do with my life, whether to follow my passion or do what is expected from me.

It seems that if you choose the first option (following your passion, do what you really want to do), you have to pay for it, a lot. Lester, Thelma and Louise paid the highest price – their lives. But what a mesmerizing ride they had!

The question is, whether this behavior is something to be proud of. You are usually hurting people around you and in a way, this behavior is selfish and irresponsible. But I have to tell you, characters acting this way are absolutely awesome to watch and they are my personal heroes. Thanks to them, you can feel, almost taste the freedom, even if it is just for 2 hours.

Now, watch the final scene:

Thelma and Louise drive off the cliff edge and then the editor stops time and motion with freeze frame, which does two things:

  • sustains the action in progress, but more importantly
  • sustains the emotional energy

Can you imagine, how different this movie actually would be, if the car had crashed at the end? This way, the car doesn’t fall, but it is flying and we have the feeling, that their ride/flight have never come to an end.

I also happen to read the original screenplay, so I know, that the song for the final scene was different than the one used in the finished movie. Check out the lyrics from the original song below:

B.B. KING
“Better Not Look Down”

I’ve been around and I’ve seen some things
People moving faster than the speed of sound
Faster than the speeding bullet
People living like Superman
All day and all night
And I won’t say if it’s wrong or if it’s right
I’m pretty fast myself
But I do have some advice to pass along
Along in the chorus of this song

Better not look down, if you want to keep on flying
Put the hammer down, keep it full speed ahead
Better not look back, or you might just wind up crying
You can keep it moving, if you don’t look down

P.S. I think I can hear the sound of seagulls at 0:39 and at 1:06 (seagull – ocean – freedom)

P.P.S. The movie ends with a montage of happy moments they’ve been through, similarly as in American Beauty in case of Lester.


Other examples of freeze frame:

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

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3 thoughts on “Freeze frame in Thelma and Louise

  1. Great post. ‘Thelma and Louise’ is one of my favorite films ever, and I can re-watch it hundreds of time. I agree that the use of freeze frame is very effective there, and I think ‘Mulholland Drive’ does the same thing in the end too. Anyway, I enjoy reading your blog 🙂

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