Study Guide

Thelma & Louise What's Up With the Ending?

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What's Up With the Ending?

The (in)famous ending of Thelma and Louise has been the cause of much celebration—and also much outrage. The writer, Callie Khouri, felt so strongly about this ending that she wouldn't sign off on the film unless she was guaranteed that the ending would stay the same.

That being said, an alternate ending to Thelma and Louise was still proposed, one in which Louise pushes Thelma out of the car at the last minute. Yet another ending was proposed, too, in which we would see the car start falling, the state troopers and Hal running to the edge of the cliff, and Hal looking down at the wreckage and picking up the Polaroid selfie the ladies took before the fateful road trip.

But what would this have done to the film?

For Khouri, it's important that the frame freezes before the car starts its fall. This frozen image emphasizes Thelma's statement to Louise: "Let's keep going." We never actually see them stop. Of course, tragedy is implied, which makes for a significant comment on what options these women actually had, but it also allows for the final focus to be on the life and not the death of these women. Their trajectory, frozen in time, allows them to keep going eternally in the viewer's mind.

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