"I'm in deep shit. Deep Shit, Arkansas."

- Louise

Character Development

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The most interesting element in the development of Thelma's and Louise's character is the paradox inherent in both women. Thelma & Louise is a "buddy movie," and buddy movies often have two characters that are contrasting and conflicting.

The Film Scholar's Insight

Buddy films are those with two main characters that are best friends and that both are equally relevant and prominent in the plot. Famous examples of buddy films are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Lethal Weapon. In fact, Thelma & Louise has been called “a modern-day Butch Cassidy” because both women commit crimes together, fight the police together, and perish together.

Thelma & Louise packing

In the beginning of the movie, Thelma behaves as an irrational, childish girl. She's insecure, scared, untidy, impulsive, and careless. Louise – the opposite – is uptight, organized, and confident. When packing, Thelma insists on bringing a lantern arguing there could be psycho-killers on the loose, but Louise disapproves that.

The shot below hints on the antithesis of their relationship:

thelma & louise

At the Silver Bullet, when Harlan approaches the two gals, Thelma is welcoming, whereas Louise is confronting. In this scene – and throughout most of the movie – Thelma is the outgoing, playful, immature, innocent, and naïve of the two. Louise, on the other hand, is the uptight, protective, and mature woman. When Harlan asks what the two friends are doing in a place like that, Louise answers with “Minding our own business,” and Thelma just starts blabbing away. Also, when Thelma laughs at Harlan's joke, Louise blows smoke in his face.

After the murder, Louise takes control of the situation and creates a plan of what they should do. Thelma freaks out.

Their personalities go unaltered for the most of the movie. But after being robbed by JD, the dynamics in the relationship changes. Louise gets desperate and helpless; begins crying. Thelma then gets in charge. She assures Louise that everything will be fine. In order to get more money, she even robs a store.