How does the role of the white cop differ in narrative function in "Thelma and Louise", "Set it Off" and "Little Miss Sunshine"? How does this reflect on gender, race, and sexuality as represented in these films?
It's interesting to note that each of the characters are subjected to law enforcement under different circumstances. In "Thelma and Louise", the cop pulls them over for speeding. In "Set it Off", there is a cop present from the first 10 minutes of the film. More like "Thelma and Louise", the cop pulls over the family bus in "Little Miss Sunshine" presumably because they are speeding and the bus is making loud, obnoxious noises as a result of the horn malfunctioning. Because the cop in "Thelma and Louise" and "Little Miss Sunshine" is merely pulling their cars over for speeding, the law enforcement's overall role in the film is quite small. Contrastingly, because the police officer is dealing with murder and bank robbery, the cop in "Set it Off" will obviously be seen as harsh and unforgiving, regardless of the fact that the characters in "Set if Off" are black. "Set if Off" is a commentary about underprivileged black people in a white-dominated patriarchal society, but the circumstances of the police officer's role is much different in "Set it Off" than it is in "Thelma and Louise" and "Little Miss Sunshine". In fact, one could comment that the police officer in "Thelma and Louise" and "Little Miss Sunshine" are merely there for comic relief, and don't serve to the greater understanding of the film, which is not the case in "Set it Off"; the entirety of "Set it Off" is a struggle between law enforcement and citizens. It's important to note that the law enforcement serves different functions in these films because the white cop's role varies upon the characters' circumstances.