Movie Reviews

Tom Cruise Approved Mission: Impossible Footage For Action Movie Led By 94-Year-Old Star


  • Thelma
    stars June Squibb in her first leading role, showcasing her dramatic and humorous range in an unconventional action hero role.
  • Director Josh Margolin received approval from Tom Cruise to use
    Mission: Impossible
    footage, adding depth to the comedy.
  • Thelma
    explores issues faced by older adults with clever humor, confronting mortality without oversimplifying it, earning high praise.

Tom Cruise approved the use of Mission: Impossible footage in Thelma, with director Josh Margolin explaining how he received permission. Thelma stars 94-year-old June Squibb in her first-ever leading role. The 93-year-old character, Thelma Post, seeks revenge and becomes an unlikely action hero after being scammed out of $10,000. Margolin based the character and the story on his own 104-year-old grandmother while having the film explore issues that older adults face in a meaningful and entertaining fashion.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Margolin was asked about the action-comedy’s references to the Mission: Impossible franchise via clips and images from the films and of Cruise, and whether Margolin needed to receive permission from the star himself. Margolin explains the process behind including these references and how it impacted Thelma‘s production. Read his explanation below:

It came during production. We shot two versions of those scenes, one with Tom on [TVs and newspapers] and then one with like a replaceable green box. It was surprisingly smooth. Nicky Weinstock, who’s a producer on the movie, was at the same agency as him and has some pals in common there. We ended up sending the scene in the script to give him a little context and then a clip of the table read. We got his signoff and then we went to Paramount, which I suspect made things a lot easier there.

The Tom Cruise & Mission Impossible References Are Only A Small Part Of What Makes Thelma Great

A Great Lead Performance, Strong Themes, & An Unconventional Action Hero Add To The Experience

With a 99% critical score and 79% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, Thelma proves that it has more to offer than its Cruise and Mission Impossible references. Squibb’s hilarious performance in Thelma is enough to make the film a stellar comedy. Margolin shared with THR that Squibb was the only actor he ever wanted for the role, emphasizing that she reminded him of his grandmother who inspired the story, and that Squibb had the perfect dramatic and humorous range needed for the role.

Squibb also currently voices Nostalgia in
Inside Out 2,
meaning she has two movies in theaters.

In addition to Squibb’s standout performance, Thelma has been well-received for how it handles issues that older adults face. The action-comedy genre enables Thelma to explore these issues through clever humor that doesn’t talk down to its characters or to viewers. It confronts difficult topics, including mortality, without oversimplifying and without becoming overly bleak, an approach Margolin is able to master by drawing on his real-life experiences with his grandmother.



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The Cruise and Mission: Impossible references aren’t the main reason Thelma has a near-perfect Rotten Tomatoes score, but as one of the most recognizable action stars from one of the most well-known action franchises, they serve a purpose as Thelma becomes an action hero in her own story. Margolin revealed that Squibb did as much as she could and more than what was expected of her when it came to Thelma’s stunts, including doing all the scooter driving herself, yet another reason to see Thelma while it plays in theaters and when it becomes available to stream.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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