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Five Amazing Films That Pass the Bechdel Test

Sometimes it’s difficult to find a film where there is a strong female presence, if any at all. The Bechdel Test is a great way to check if some of your favorite movies are giving you what you want as far as female representation is concerned. There are three parts to the test: there must be at least two female characters, those characters must be named, and they must speak to one another about something other than a man. I’ve listed five of my favorite movies that have incredible stories, all of which also pass  the Bechdel Test. *Warning* Possible spoilers below.

The Craft (1996)

This cult classic tells the story of Sarah Bailey, a young girl who moves to a new high school and falls into a coven of witches who are looking for a fourth member to join their group. However, an obsession with power begins to tear the girls apart. 

A scene that passes the Bechdel Test: The group spends the night at Bonnie’s house practicing spells, one of which includes levitating Rochelle (“light as a feather, stiff as a board”). The main cast of women are speaking to one another with absolutely no men involved.

Bridesmaids (2012)

Single Annie is selected to be her best friend’s maid of honor, though she isn’t in the best place of her life to do so. Along with the rest of the bridal party, Annie hilariously tries to be there for her friend and make it to the wedding day. 

A scene that passes the Bechdel Test: One of the most iconic scenes from the movie is when the group goes shopping for bridesmaids dresses. There’s a lot of talk amongst the women involving dress prices and food poisoning, but a man is never mentioned.

Gone Girl (2014)

One of my favorite movies to date, Gone Girl finds Nick Dunne under the suspicion of murdering his wife, Amy, on their fifth wedding anniversary. 

A scene that passes the Bechdel Test: When Amy is in hiding, Greta confronts her about the cash she’s concealing and confirms Amy’s fear of being discovered. The two named characters discuss Amy’s fake glasses, dyed hair, and loads of cash. Even though there is a man with them in the scene, they have plenty of other things to talk about.

Lady Bird (2017)

Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson navigates the highs and lows of her senior year of high school as she tries to manage her complicated relationship with her mother and dreams of attending a college on the other side of the country. 

A scene that passes the Bechdel Test: Lady Bird and her best friend Julie have a falling out after she ditches her for the more popular crowd. The girls express their anger and betrayal in a very loud—and public—way. They are both named and never discuss a boy. 

Little Women (2019)

In the most recent adaptation of Louise Alcott’s famous novel, the March sisters revisit memories from the past as they reunite in their childhood home when one of them becomes dangerously ill.  

A scene that passes the Bechdel Test: In a flashback, Amy gets revenge on aspiring writer Jo by burning her hand-written manuscript. There’s screaming, fighting, and harsh words exchanged, but a man is never mentioned between the two sisters in the scene. 

Next time you’re watching a movie or writing a story, check to see if it passes the Bechdel Test. It’s always important to have that representation.

Jessica Garrison is a professional writing major and women's, gender, and sexuality studies minor at Kutztown University.
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