2019’s Bechdel-Passing Films
As 2019 (and the decade) draws to a close, we’re reflecting on women’s representation in film. We took a look at the top-rated movies on Rotten Tomatoes to evaluate how many pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test. The results may surprise you! As a reminder, the Bechdel-Wallace Test measures the representation of women in fictional films and television. The test looks at films and shows to determine whether or not they contain at least one scene where two women have a conversation with each other that is about something other than a man. The good news is that 80% of the top-rated films passed. Interestingly though, only one of the passing movies on this list was nominated in the Best Drama/Comedy category of the Golden Globes! We’ve still got a ways to go.
Avengers: Endgame – PASS
After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos’ actions and restore balance to the universe. Though Avengers: Endgame passes and makes an effort to be more than just a dude flick, the film still only offers under-developed female characters.
Us – PASS
A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them. Jordan Peele’s Us does as excellent job of centering black women in the horror genre– which has unfortunately been a rare sight to see.
Toy Story 4 – PASS
When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.
Knives Out – PASS
When a patriarch of a prominent, eccentric family turns up dead, a detective arrives on the scene to investigate his death. This murder mystery is a wild ride, with many prominent and interesting women characters of all ages.
Parasite – PASS
All unemployed, Ki-taek and his family take a peculiar interest in the wealthy and glamorous Parks. As they ingratiate themselves into their lives, they get entangled in an unexpected incident. Although Parasite is focused primarily on Ki-taek and his relationship with his father, the women of the story steal the show.
The Irishman – FAIL
A mob hitman recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. This male-centric mob tale has few female characters, and they rarely speak.
The Farewell – PASS
A Chinese family discovers their grandmother has only a short while left to live and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies. If you haven’t seen The Farewell already– what are you waiting for!? Awkwafina delivers a knockout dramatic performance in a movie focused on the matriarch of the family.
Booksmart – PASS
On the eve of their high school graduation, two academic superstars and best friends realize they should have worked less and played more. Determined not to fall short of their peers, the girls try to cram four years of fun into one night.
Spider-Man: Far From Home – FAIL
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. Spider-Man: Far From Home is a fun comic book watch with a mostly feminist approach to Mary-Jane’s character– sadly, it still doesn’t pass the very low bar set by the Bechdel Test!
Take Action! As you’re setting in for some end of year movie viewing, give a watch to those which passed the Bechdel Test!