Bechdel Test Movie List

/bech·del test/ n.
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

[[3]] Sucker Punch (2011) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Qortni on 2010-11-04 13:27:56.

Reviews

Comments

Qortni said:
This movie passes the test - altho it looks cheesy as hell. But hey, what do I know? You might like it.
Message posted on 2010-11-04 13:27:56
Lizzie said:
It actually passes with flying colors. Wasn't cheesy, was much much different than I was expecting.
Message posted on 2011-03-25 09:24:30
Roar said:
It definitely passes the Bechdel test. Not sure how I felt about all the outfits, but I understand it from a video game point of view.
Message posted on 2011-03-26 04:46:24
Monark48 said:
This movie absolutely passes the Bechdel test. Unfortunately it is awful on so many other levels; it does the test no justice. Only the male characters wear pants in this move, literally. The majority of the dialog comes from the male characters, leaving the girls to cry, whine, moan and kick ass, all with no pants on. This movie should redefine the test to include women having at least 50% of the dialog that does not include whining, crying, moaning and screaming. My eyes are soar from being rolled constantly throughout this movie. WORST MOVIE EVER!
Message posted on 2011-03-29 02:21:36
Daniel said:
This film might be proof positive that while the Bechdel Test is a valuable tool for gauging female visibility in movies, passing it doesn't necessarily make the film a positive force for women. From the reviews I've read (I haven't seen the film myself, but most of the critics concur), though this is female-driven in the sense of having five female leads, it's actually quite misogynistic.
Message posted on 2011-03-29 02:59:36
NekoHime said:
Gee, "whining, crying, moaning"? So now we can't have movies where women complain about being put in negative situations, and try to do something about it? They aren't waiting to be saved, they save themselves, and go against the "men wearing the pants". I thought it was a good movie, not as misogynistic as people play it out to be. Women ARE allowed to wear sexy outfits and kick ass too, you know, without people crying about misogynism. Isn't that the whole point of feminism?
Message posted on 2011-03-29 06:52:41
dragon_toes said:
Agree with NekoHime. I'm not understanding the misogynistic hype over it all. There is violence against the women, often with sexual motives, but if you notice, those responsible for the act are depicted as MONSTERS who these women are kicking the ass of. It did some really unique takes on female leads I thought. We had women who were imagining being super physically powerful superheros. Awesome.
Message posted on 2011-04-07 06:18:00
Daniel said:
The argument about the film's misogyny I've read most often claims that Zack Snyder invites us to enjoy the titillating voyeurism of sexual violence, with the butt-kicking girl-power stuff thrown in to make us feel less creepy about enjoying the titillating voyeurism of sexual violence. In other words, it's okay to leer at scantily clad women being exploited, because they're really being empowered!
Message posted on 2011-04-09 18:29:36
Honor said:
The whole thing reminded me of anime/manga. I like to read 'shonen' manga, that is to say manga with a male target audience. I've learned to put up with fanservice for the sake of an entertaining story. I will note that some exposition scenes, and the musical scenes were cut from the theatrical release but are to be restored in the DVD release. Perhaps those objecting will be appeased by the missing scenes - more likely, they will simply have more to moan about. So the girls were kick-ass, but fetish fuel, I found it entertaining enough to forget I even had popcorn.
Message posted on 2011-04-13 19:42:45
Kirsti said:
Anyone else notice how no "real" male characters died in this movie? They were all giant samurai statues/steampunk Germans/robo-cops. No flesh and blood "men" were killed - injured, yes, but not killed.
Yet several of the women died...it just made me ponder.
Message posted on 2011-04-27 06:45:47
Fringey said:
Neko Hime, wearing sexy outfits and kicking ass too is NOT the whole poit of feminism. The point of feminism is to make gender equality a reality. in the context of pop culture such as movies having female characters who are whole, compelling characters and not merely fetishized, infantalized depictions of women whose sole purpose is to delight and titillate men. It also speaks to the sheer amount of violence women we see in pop culture and media that this level of violence against women is shrugged off as the norm. For a more in depth and well presented explanation of the misogyny of this movie look at Feministfrequency.com
Message posted on 2011-05-24 07:03:54
Caitlin said:
I think I took away something completely different in the gender equality department. Everyone seems to be focusing on the scenarios in the film. I actually compared it to the Expendables and found the similarities shocking!

1) Where Suckerpunch has a female central cast, the Expendables has male.

2) Where Suckerpunch exploits the sex appeal in violence against women, the Expendables does for men. To note: the FEMALE viewers for the Expendables outnumbered the male viewers. Why? It was targeted to women as extremely attractive men in high action situations. Isn't that the same tag for Suckerpunch?

3) The opposite gender is a minority in both films. The minority gender is NOT the focus of some romantic subplot. If any romance in either film is to be found, it is an active deconstruction of mainstream romance.

I walked out of Suckerpuch feeling that some female empowerment. Why? Because it received the same treatment as a VERY typical, male-oriented action flick. There IS gender equality...it's just not where Snyder claimed it to be.
Message posted on 2011-06-18 09:01:44
Plop said:
Caitlin has a fair point ! It's not perfect but at list it uses the tropes designed for men on women.
That's a big step towards gender equality.
Message posted on 2011-06-27 20:51:35
Katy said:
I don't disagree that it passed all the tests. I do however disagree that it empowered women. I went to see it very excited at the thought of women kicking ass in a strong female centric movie. All I came away with was the image of scantily clad women, and the fact that all the 'fight' scenes were in fact in the main characters head, when she was actually dancing for men in the brothel, and ultimately not doing much inside the asylum. The whole film focussed on women doing whatever they have to in a male orientated world. This is not empowerment. Plus all the way through, and even at the very end, a man is directing them/rescuing them. Again, not empowering. I was so disappointed with what I thought was going to be a butt-kicking embodiment of female equality.
Message posted on 2011-08-06 19:33:55
Ithildyn said:
Really, Kate Beaton illustrated about perfectly what I would have otherwise tried to express in words: Strong Female Characters.
Message posted on 2011-08-30 21:22:05
luminum said:
Actually, I believe the film is entirely feminist, but it's not feminist because it EMPOWERS women. It's feminist because it utterly highlights and condemns and satirizes the genre of media that women often inhabit under the thin guise of "empowerment" when it's really heterosexual male wish-fulfillment fantasy.

For example, Zack Snyder referred to the film as an examination of the way women are forced to inhabit a limited realm in Hollywood, "a brothel".

Baby Doll finds herself in an illusory brothel, but when they act out her story on stage with Sweet Pear, someone calls it out as being "unsexy". The whole "point" of the show is to titillate, but portraying the reality of Baby Dolls' story is described as "unsexy". This parallels how the real story about Baby Doll's situation is secondary to the glitz and sexual glamour of the brothel and the vampy costume-action sequences that the actual audience watching it is expecting.

Likewise, the film plays on how the viewing audience may demand a feminist film, but also demands the objectification of the female characters by purposefully denying the audience the visual experience of Baby Doll's supposedly "incredible and erotic" dance. Every time Baby Doll performs, the audience is "cheated" of the spectacle, inevitably leading to discontent. But in being discontented, the audience finds itself fulfilling one crucial component of continuing exploitation of women: social demand for female objectification for entertainment. This was one of the major criticisms of the film (it was too boring, it wasn't as sexy as it was promised).

Only one character criticizes Baby Doll's dancing: Sweet Pea. While Baby Doll and everyone around them is entranced, Sweet Pea says that any dancing they do should ultimately be personal and for themselves, not for others. Sweet Pea's attitude is that it's fine for women to engage in sexuality, but so long as it is their own, not demanded of them or to speak to the desires of others.

The film also discusses the illusion of agency. This is the overarching concept of the film: Can women be empowered in media when institutional sexism continues to place them in sexist situations where they have no real agency and each active action is by a man? The answer here seems to be "no". Every objective Baby Doll or the girls have fails. Baby Doll wants to defeat her sexually abusive father, but fails, killing her sister. The girls have a plan for breaking out that requires they seduce men to get there, and they fail. Even the one benevolent man, the monk, is an example of failure, because he gives them all their missions, and they fail. They don't act on their own agency, so their attempts at true empowerment cannot be achieved. Even their names indicate that they are women without agency. Each of them are named after objects. They are objectified from the start, but never question it. If they were uncritical to begin with, how could they ever truly succeed in breaking the hidden shackles of sexism?

Likewise, why would any woman who was truly looking for empowerment and emancipation use a brothel as her fantasy escape? Why would she imagine herself being an action hero who simultaneously wears the skimpiest outfits possible to fight villains. The different layers of escape are self-reflexive critiques of media that does the exact same thing with women: comics where women fight villains in stilettos and bathing suits instead of logical armor and decent footwear, videogames where "empowered" women on missions against evil seem to be discordantly concerned about how sexy their outfits are.

Sweet Pea and the girls imagining themselves as vamped out, impractical, male-fantasy warriors IS absurd, and that's the point. If we reject it as false in Sucker Punch, then we should be primed to reject it in all other media.

In the end, Sweet Pea is the "real" heroine. On the surface, she learns from Baby Doll and finds truth. Or does she? Again, we see that the monk is the one facilitating her escape. Are we meant to question if Sweet Pea has really escaped the institutional sexism around her? Or is her escape actually illusory because she still hasn't defeated the "true" issue of lacking her own agency? Is she as misguided as every new piece of media where women are objectified, but touted as being "liberated"? Sucker Punch makes us question if we've really escaped sexism in film or if we only think we have.

The film seems to be incredibly critical of the genre of objectified women as "liberated" women, and to draw the strongest criticism against it, it does the difficult task of wearing the skin of that which it critiques to highlight just how absurd and wrong it is. It embodies the worst aspects of the genre--physical violence by men onto women as the catalyst to their "action", sexual violence as the constant threat that spurs women on, the focus on titillizing sexual fantasies in situations where sexuality normally wouldn't even be the first priority--and forces the audience to address its own unexamined sexism. Its opinion seems to be that so long as institutional sexism remains at play, true empowerment and agency for women will not be found. It suggests that you can't play to institutional sexism and win. Like the girls, you will lose every time. That's the message. It doesn't bother saying that "but if you break out of it, you will succeed", so it lacks a direct "empowerment" message. Instead, it focuses on what's at take while other films are free to focus on what can be achieved.

It fulfills the Bechdel Test, and if the spirit of the test is to be believed, it passes with flying colors.
Message posted on 2012-02-19 10:05:45
GregDinskisk said:
I definitely agree with the rating... and I believe it was meant to create an interesting story about women not told before... However, it could have been done much better than Snyder's treatment to it... Too much meaningless violence (the sequence where the main girl fights three huge, stone samurai for no particular reason, in specific), and with a poor choice in score, which diminished it.

A couple changes, and it could have been amazing.
Message posted on 2012-02-28 21:52:42
Adam disagreed with the rating and said:
MANY SPOILERS:

I enjoyed this movie immensely the first time I saw it at the movies. I liked the action and storyline-- did think the ending was quite sad. All that effort...

Was watching this the other day on DVD. Had to turn it off. After the excitement of the drama and action wears off a second viewing was sickening.
This is disgustingly sexist.
It made me remember the film in completely different light.
Got to first Samurai scene and felt bored. When they showed the red bed and her fate to please "clients" I shuddered.

I have read what Luminum & Caitlin have said and although they make very interesting and clever points I'd have to disagree.

The "satire" is overshadowed by the fact that a male puts Babydoll into a horrific situation dictated by other males.

Both the brothel and mental institution takes her power away as a person. She has to resort to violence and destruction of property in order to obtain the simple dignity of freedom.

It's utterly ridiculous from the start the police do not question Babydoll, her name is Babydoll--not Emma or Sophie or Alice-- it's a stripper name. The stepfather is automatically believed. The male nurse cares more about money than her brains.

Her escape is through dancing-- they are TRAINED to dance for the highroller and male "clients"
So they spend time and energy improving their performance for the benefit of a male audience.

She escapes into a brothel with further escape into a fantasy world activated by erotic dancing. Sure we don't see that so it could be a "satire" however we do see her slammed on the floor during fights, women in near-rape situations and the escape ends in failure for Babydoll-- a smart woman that ends up having the lobotomy anyway.

Sure SweetPea gets on the bus---to safety--driven by a man.

The female characters are strong, do fight and do make attempts to save themselves--but totally overwhelmed by the degrading situation around them-- the male dominated environment.

In the end it still feels like a loss.

Message posted on 2012-07-29 16:07:44
luminum said:
I think you've missed my point. The entire film is a satire of that wish-fulfillment fantasy and smokescreen of Strong Female Characters in the genre. That Babydoll is given a stripper name, that she's put into this horrific situation by a male, and that the movie is structured around their struggle for empowerment THROUGH sexist tropes (women empowered by male gaze) is the meta-critique of the same you will find in any genre (Witchblade, or more egregiously, the anime of Witchblade, for example).

It constructs an unsatisfying and blatantly sexist narrative, but relies on the viewer's reaction and side-character commentary to point out that the what the watcher is viewing is the embodiment of sexism in the genre. It's not a movie where the audience watches the characters criticize sexism. It's a movie where the audience is exposed to sexism as the viewing experience itself and is expected to get that it's a study and critique of sexism in the genre.

Whereas many expect a story that confronts sexism by criticizing it and defying it in the narrative, this film instead confronts sexism by creating a story that is THE quintessential embodiment of the genre's most classic and obvious tropes in the hopes of laying them bare for recognition in other works where they are not as obvious or more masqueraded.
Message posted on 2012-08-18 17:04:49
JF said:
I watched a review on this film that interpreted it pretty much as Luminum and Caitlin were arguing, it made the additional points that:

When Baby Doll dances we're told it's basically sexual (I think Sweetpea refers to it as grinding and writhing?) We don't see the dance. What we DO see, as the direct representative of the dance, is a selection of typical fantasy stereotypes which claim to show strong women, but basically show fetishized charactors. In other words, the film suggests that the kind of films it's referencing in the action features are basically equivalent to a strip tease.

Also, the film also shows us the audience most intreseted in the dance - Blue, the cook, the guy with the lighter... all sleazy and creepy people. The critic made the point that if Baby Doll's dance represents these kind of fantasy films targetted at men, then these charactors represent the movie goers who enjoy that kind of movie... he then suggests this is the "sucker punch" (not the fact Baby Doll doesn't make it and Sweetpea does) - it's hitting the audience when they don't expect it.

He also made many other points (I think this was the theatre critic at Escapist, if people want to see tha actual thing...)

I'm not sure I agree with it - I like the interpretation, I'm just not sure that the director was that clever in reality. But I can watch it believing that was the interpretation.
Message posted on 2012-11-09 21:01:28
ML said:
Not only does it pass the test, it fails the inverse of it (where two men talk, and it's always about women) I love it.
Message posted on 2013-03-26 18:51:18
MP said:
Fringey,

Feminism is about women being able to make their own choices. If a woman wants to wear skimpy ass clothing while kicking ass, THEN ITS FINE. The fact that a woman can't wear skimpy clothes while kicking ass just because men have been making it happen for generations is, well, sexist.
Message posted on 2013-07-08 15:41:39
JoKyR said:
Adam,

Don't disagree with the rating unless you can offer a reason why it doesn't pass the test. The film doesn't have to fit your definition of feminism (or any definition of feminism for that matter) to pass the test.
Message posted on 2013-07-15 23:08:10
max said:
the film does pass this test so I suppose that is a good thing but I would agree with others who said that that does not necessarily make it a vehicle for equality.

Now people can say that how badly the girls in the film are treated and what they are forced to do only goes to highlight our own preconceptions and expectations of the action genre and the women within it, However I don't personally think that the director had even considered that when making the film, its not filmed in a knowing way, in so much as the meaning of the film is ambiguous, there for, if it was his intention to address sexism through satire he failed.

also where is the Validity in producing exactly the kind of sexist film that people don't want to see, selling it as 'Feminist' or 'Egalitarian' and then saying to your audience. 'ha see, even you wanted to see them dance in not very many clothes at all.' it is never a good idea as a film maker to talk down or insult your audience, and satirical or not that is basically what the film does.

as for the actual premise and story, i have no problem with empowered women being scantly clad if they want to be, that is fine. and empowerment through violence is fine to (kill bill) however in this move all of babydoll's empowerment and 'ass kicking' is purely fictional, its just escapism, she's heroic and successful in her mind but in reality she ends up getting lobotomized. and as for the brothel thing, that was pure fan service, surely being put in an asylum is degrading enough without having to imagine its a brothel in order to escape? what does that say about the character and the script writer? (which i believe is also Snyder.)

its not clever enough to be satire nor actually empowering in a real way, its like someone said 'i'd love to do a film about a girl in a mental institution that is also a brothel.'
and someone else said. 'but people won't like that, its too degrading, people want empowered women now.'
so the first guy says. 'they'll imagine they're all empowered and we'll use loads of slow motion, they won't be able to complain about that.'

I honestly though Zack snyder should have been black listed after this project, at least for a few years, you can't make a film this bad and expect to get away with it.
Message posted on 2013-08-17 23:48:21
Alex said:
Anyone who thinks this film is sexist completely missed the point and should have a good read through of Luminum's comments. Zach Snyder himself said the film is meant to be a commentary on how women are represented in film, tv, and video games.

Even if you (somehow) still think it's sexist or a 'bad' film, I don't see how you could think it fails the Bechdel test, because it obviously passes.
Message posted on 2013-10-04 00:09:04
videokid said:
Firstly I'd like to point out that this film is a sterling example of how, while the bechdel test is a good indicator of female representation in the media, it's not the be all and end all many people make it out to be.

Secondly, I'd like to point out that sexual violence in this film is never portrayed positively, but with all the abhorrence it deserves; characters such as Blue or The Chef or The Mayor are portrayed in a very negative light and, indeed, all but one of the monsters fought- the dragon- are male, and could be seen to embody these characters (it's no coincidence that, besides the first, Babydoll's fantasy sequence invariably involve distracting the male in the brothel world.

Furthermore, I feel that many people misunderstand the "fantasy" world of the brothel; Babydoll is placed in a terrible situation and retreats into her mind, but the brothel world is in no way an escape- it's a world where the women are treated like objects. At no point is the brothel treated or portrayed positively. The fact that it's a brothel is symbolic of their helplessness as well as metaphorical for their abuse at the hand of Blue and the others.

The fantasy fight sequence, however, is where the feminism, to me, takes hold. the women have been reduced to objects, they have nothing to rely on but themselves. In the fantasy world, Babydoll imagines them fighting based, loosely, on the costumes they wear during their dances (Seen, in full, in the deleted "Love is the Drug" Number: Rocket's is loosely based on her Nurse's Uniform; Sweet Pea, whose dance is based on Joan of Arc, fights with a broadsword; Blondie, whose dance is heavily Indian inspired, fights with tomahawks (a loose appropriation of Native Americans due to deliberate values dissonance, one supposes); Amber, whose dance is based on a maid, is the one who cleans up their messes, while Babydoll, whose defining feature is her innocent status, is a schoolgirl.

What I always thought was that since they were reduced to a single identity, that is the character they take on during their dances, their battle persona's are exaggerations of this. Their fighting techniques or personas are loosely based on those forced upon them, but they embrace them and find power in them. (The recurring line "You have all the weapons you need, now fight)

The battle sequences themselves are a form of escapism; to deal with her horrifying situation, Babydoll imagines her and her friends as the victors, not the victims.

Perhaps I'm misled, but this is my interpretation anyway. I think we need to realize that while sexual violence is a very real theme, and certainly an uncomfortable one, it's never sexualized; the aggressors are never treated sympathetically and the scenes in question are never titilating. I understand that people have issue with the film but I feel that everything makes sense in context. I can see the satire, but perhaps the execution wasn't necessarily done particularly well.
Message posted on 2013-11-26 01:17:35

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