Designated Villain: not a villain per se, but Evelyn's husband is portrayed In a very negative way. This is unfair as throughout the movie we never see nor hear of him doing anything bad to her or anyone else. He's not very exciting and clearly has interests that don't involve her, but he doesn't try to suppress her new-found spirit either. When it is inconvenient for him, he merely gets annoyed but never says anything mean or regrettable. The only time he ever draws the line is when she wants to move Ninny in with them—something he only finds out when he discovers Evelyn preparing a room for her. He attempts to reason that Ninny is both very old and not even family. Being as Evelyn has only known her for a short time, has only visited her in a facility where she receives 24/7 care, and the fact that despite being very old Ninny is otherwise in good health and could live for another 10-15 years—not to mention the inevitable issues that will arise when they must make end-of-life decisions for a non-related adult living under their roof—Ed definitely has a point.
Ed's chief "villainy" is not that he does anything bad to Evelyn, or that he tries to prevent her from doing what she wants—it's more that he seems blind to his wife's growing unhappiness. In fairness to Ed, Evelyn believes that she is at fault and doesn't express her concerns to Ed until she's well past despair (the film plays this for laughs while the novel shows her frequently fantasizing about suicide), but once she does so, Ed seems responsive to the idea. There's also a little difference in the film, where Evelyn's personal growth is the main focus, and the novel, where we have a little more time to see how their marriage is going: by the end of the film, Ed's just warming up to his wife's new ideas; in the book, he comes around a little earlier and the book ends with indications that their relationship is in the midst of a happy upswing. Plus there's something to be said about a man who visits his belligerent elderly aunt in a nursing home every week even when he knows she's just going to throw things at him.
"Just let her go. Miss Ruth was a lady, and a lady always knows when to leave."
Smokey's reminiscing about Ruth, before he freezes to death.
Oddly (or perhaps not, all things considered), that final shot of the Whistle Stop Cafe, dilapidated and weathered and abandoned, with the whole town gone. It just seemed to encapsulate everything Idgie lost, everything we loved about her town.