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

[[2]] Fargo (1996) [imdb]

This movie passed 2 of 3 tests. It was entered by Marcus on 2010-12-14 23:36:58.



Marcus said:
Marge Gunderson, the police officer who solves the case, talks with Detective Sibert about the case and their children.
Message posted on 2010-12-14 23:36:58
ot said:
I don't think this passes.

Conversations between Marge and other women (e.g. the sex-workers), are about men.

I'm not sure which character Detective Sibert is? They're not listed in the credits. Is this conversation over the phone or something?
Message posted on 2010-12-31 14:20:37
Adriana said:
Detective Sibert is a man! This film should not have passed the Bechdel test. I agree with ot, the only conversation between women is about men.
Message posted on 2011-02-15 14:57:32
df said:
Hmm. Marge also interviews the two prostitutes, talking to them about the case (and yes, the guys/suspects they had sex with) but also where they're from and where they went to school.

She also talks to a hotel clerk; there are two hotel clerks in the movie, but only one (female)listed in the credits on IMDb. Is that the one she talks to?
Message posted on 2011-07-03 23:44:15
Cygifier said:
According to the credits, there are only 2 named women in the film: Marge Gunderson and Jean Lundegaard. The two prostitutes are simply called Hooker #1 and Hooker #2, which eliminates them on the grounds of not being named--and the entire point about the conversation with them is to identify the men who were paying them, even if it involves other questions to establish the context of the transaction. So I would say this film meets the criteria for having 2 named women, but the named women do NOT have a conversation (as one is dead).
Message posted on 2011-09-23 15:11:25
Katie Melbourne said:
I watched this film again last night and agree with the comments above. There are only two prominent female characters and they do not have a conversation.

The most you could argue with this film is that the prostitutes, the escort, the female friend on the phone and the hotel clerk count as female characters. But really, they are extras.
Message posted on 2011-12-07 04:02:48
Jessica said:
I do disagree that the movie does not pass the Bechdel test, but I believe that there is valid reasoning behind it. The movie is about Marge Gunderson investigating a case. The only people she speaks with, other than her husband, the less intelligent male detective, and her old, creepy acquaintance, are people that she interviews to help solve the case. The movie doesn't show her social life other than her marriage, so the lack of female to female conversation is understandable. And I don't think you could argue that Marge Gunderson is by far the most likeable and admirable character in the movie! She is a strong, smart, independent woman, and one of my favorite characters in film, period.
Message posted on 2011-12-07 23:57:35
TC said:
Regardless of passing the rating or not, this film features one of the strongest female characters I've ever seen. Test be damned.
Message posted on 2013-08-18 23:27:23
Marcus said:
I am the original poster and I disagree my rating. I had thought the movie failed the test, then found a script online, but missed what Adriana said.

I don't see anyway to edit the original rating though...
Message posted on 2013-09-13 02:14:11
Terry said:
I came here after watching the movie for the first time and being impressed with the way Marge was depicted... It's kind of a bummer to learn that it doesn't pass the test.
Message posted on 2014-10-05 17:37:13
cara said:
okay i thought that it didn't pass for a long time too, but does the random line "oh, Joni two more of those Skin-so-softs please" "sure thing!" count???? I still checked that i disagree with the rating though because there is no way to know that Detective Sibert is a woman.
Message posted on 2015-04-30 21:15:45
Emely said:
the test is pretty good, but a few movies still fall through the cracks, like this one. despite not technically passing - unless you stretch the rules - it more than passes according to the spirit of the law. it doesn't pass the bechdel test because it comes from a viewpoint where things like the bechdel test aren't needed.
Message posted on 2015-07-14 07:07:06
Chris said:
I'm with a lot of folks here, thinking it doesn't pass the test.

Also, FWIW and IMHO, at least part of what the Bechdel test is pointing out is the lack of meaningful parts for female actors and the gender imbalance in that field. Marge can be depicted as the strongest and smartest character in the film, but there were only two serious parts for female actors and several for males.
Message posted on 2015-07-28 14:24:23
Alex said:
As states above by others, to my memory, the only conversations between women are between Marge and the prostitutes and a phone conversation between Marge and an unnamed woman from her past. Besides the fact that none of those characters were named, the conversation with the prostitutes was about the male subjects of the investigation, and the conversation with the friend was about Mike Yanagita.

I do feel the need, though, to include a caveat, because this is always the example that I use to show the limits of the Bechdel test, and specifically why it should be used as a tool to show the institutional sexism in film, rather than as a hard-and-fast rule by which to judge any film. Fargo is clearly a feminist film, in that it depicts a wife who is almost certainly the breadwinner of her family, and who is clearly the most intelligent and emotionally mature character in the movie. That's not a slight on Bechdel in any sense; just a reminder that it's important to take a holistic approach to judging the feminist quality of a movie.
Message posted on 2017-12-27 20:04:25
neil (webmaster) said:
I've updated the rating from 3/3 to 2/3.
Message posted on 2017-12-27 20:56:18
Taylor disagreed with the rating and said:
The characters do not have names, but in the context of their work as sex workers, they of course would not willingly reveal their names to a police officer, nor would Marge ask for identification in an instance where they are not under investigation. I think you have to consider the circumstance and pass it.
Message posted on 2018-01-31 04:56:16
Luisa disagreed with the rating and said:
Marge talks to Victoria on the phone. they start the conversation by mentioning they won’t be able to see each other. that’s an exchange of sentences between two named women about a thing that’s not a man, even though Victoria doesn’t appear on screen
Message posted on 2018-03-16 05:43:54

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