Thursday, 17 July 2014

Film Reviews: Inclusion of the Bechdel Test

If you’ve read most of my posts up until now, you might have noticed two things I focus on a lot: gender and feminism.

I am also a huge film and TV fan, and even though I haven’t reviewed that many films on here, I have devised a very small difference to my way of reviewing films. That is the inclusion of the film’s Bechdel Test Results!

What’s that? I hear you ask.

Well, the Bechdel Test is a test created by American cartoonist Alison Bechdel. It examines the portrayal of women in film. It asks whether or not the female characters play a sufficient role in the progress of the movie’s plot, or are they just secondary characters, damsels in distress or simply eye candy?

In order for the film to pass the test, it must meet these four basic guidelines:

1.      Does the film have at least 2 female characters?

2.     Do they have names?

      3.     Do they talk to each other?

4.    And do they talk about something other than men?

Now don’t get me wrong, if a film fails this test it doesn’t mean the film is bad – it just goes to show how far the film industry, particularly Hollywood, has to go in making realistic and believable representations of women in film.

Interestingly, the film I reviewed here, Thor: The Dark World, passed the test very slightly. You will be amazed at how few mainstream films pass this test.

From consulting the films I rank as my favourites on Facebook, here are the ones which pass:

The Crow (1993)

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Spirited Away (2001)

Return to Oz (1985)

Black Swan (2010)

Carrie (1976)

The Breakfast Club (1985)

And to show just how astronomical the number of films that fail this test is, I’ll leave Anita Sarkeesian to tell us that.

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