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]] Skyfall (2012) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests (although dubious). It was entered by Rob on 2012-10-27 22:45:58.

Reviews

Comments

Rob said:
Other than two named characters who do not interact, women are used and discarded quickly in the film, including particularly callously during the first half. Their only actions with Bond are flirtatious. The other women in the film after two named characters are all sex workers or motherly figures.

The government inquiry sequence meets the test guidelines but very, very dubiously (one woman not named in spoken dialogue, and told to shut up by a man, and another woman only known by a single letter).
Message posted on 2012-10-27 22:46:03
CJ said:
In the case of 007, there is no real issue with a female character being identified "by a single letter". The context of these films is secret intelligence, therefore it is entirely appropriate that any character would be identified by a single letter. Indeed, there have been more male characters in the series known by one letter: the first M, and Q.
Message posted on 2012-10-30 12:42:23
Stefan said:
Although in the case of the woman known by a single letter it is the espionage protocol rather than because she's a woman.
Message posted on 2012-10-30 12:54:52
Craig disagreed with the rating and said:
Don't BOTH female characters have to be named to qualify? I accept M as a name (as the codename for all heads of MI6), but the other is not.
Message posted on 2012-10-30 16:27:10
Scaramanga's Nubbin said:
Rob's comment is factually incorrect. Yes, one of the women is known only as 'M'. But that's the codename for the *head* of MI6, so she is hardly diminished by that. Moreover, when the MP in the select committee is told to 'shut up', it is only in order that the witness be allowed to speak - perfectly acceptable in the context, surely (especially when the witness is female?!).

Ultimately, this is a Bond film, so it's *always* going to have shooting and shagging, and it's never going to be Jane Bond as the lead, but you have to accept that, for a mainstream action film, this is not a bad one.
Message posted on 2012-10-30 16:44:40
Marzipan said:
Eve and M interact over the radio in the opening sequence (and although some of it is 'about' Bond and the other chap, it's as much about the mission e.g. M asking what's happening; Eve saying she's going to run out of road).
Message posted on 2012-10-30 22:59:40
Jo said:
I was quite disappointed that returning to a desk job for Eve meant being a PA/Secretary.
Message posted on 2012-11-05 13:32:08
amyelizabeth disagreed with the rating and said:
I'd also like to toss in that Eve and Sévérine are both quite complex characters whose actions and motivations operate on several different levels. They both quite conflicted.
Message posted on 2012-11-10 20:23:57
andysunshine disagreed with the rating and said:
Severene admits to being forced into prostitution and secretly confides to Bond. Bond, knowing this information, sneaks into her room, gets into her shower, and has meaningless sex with her. I can't abide by that.
Message posted on 2012-11-14 02:41:47
lauren disagreed with the rating and said:
a pass: m (ridiculous and pedantic in context to suggest she's not a 'named' character) and MP claire dowar exchange debate at the parliamentary hearing....dowar's name appears on her name plate, clearly legible.

just because it's not a feminist movie doesn't mean it's not a bechdel movie. come on, people.
Message posted on 2012-11-24 23:15:33
luminum disagreed with the rating and said:
This isn't dubious.

Eve and M interact about taking the shot, not about Bond per se. Eve is talking about whether or not the shot will be a clean one or not, and she asks whether to procede. M tells her to take the shot.

The MP has a name as well, which is shown by her name plate at the hearing: Clair Dowar. It's intentionally shown with her in the scene before Silver comes for M. The two discuss M's approach to espionage and her ability to lead, and what Dowar believes to be M's ineffectiveness and delusions. M responds back that the reality of the political world is less transparant than it used to be and that the world is more unsafe than ever. They also talk about M being distracted and the resolution of the MI6 explosion.
Message posted on 2012-11-26 04:42:21
geohawk disagreed with the rating and said:
It's a Bond movie. By definition, it is surely going to be objectionable - it is in the series' creative DNA. That said, any attempt to subvert the norms should be welcomed. A slightly talky scene taking place in a parliamentary subcommittee should be welcomed, and not only as a Bechdel qualifier.
Message posted on 2012-12-05 00:00:07
Hannah said:
Skyfall was deemed an excellent return to the Bond we all know and love. But with what they revived from the sere is classics they brought up back something I wa hoping would stayed buried (well submerged at least). Bond begins with a fantastic strong female character spy extraordinaire. She seemingly can drive like a field agent, fight like one two but then SPOILER ALERT she takes a little desk job instead!!! Its frustrating were given such a fabulous character for her to become the bumbling office assistant! I understand many peoples complaint regarding Ralph Fiennes characters interruption. My issue is that it is a man that stops the women in power so he can let the other woman speak. So women not only come across as annoying and loud but also that they need a man to let them talk.
If gender really is a non issue then why couldn't there be a female Bond, and to all those who say tradition and character, perhaps consider if there could be a black bond, asian bond, gay bond, disabled bond. If we are being inclusive then couldn't Bond be any of these. Or to be the fantastic and incredible Bond must he be a white middle aged man.
Apologies for dreadful spelling
Message posted on 2012-12-21 11:41:05
Teresa disagreed with the rating and said:
I think "Skyfall" passes the test, period, with no "dubious" qualifier. If you have a problem with this movie qualifying as feminist, which is really isn't, blame the test, not the movie.

The scene that qualifies the movie is straightforward. M tells Eve Moneypenny to take the sharpshooter rifle shot that ultimately hits Bond. Moneypenny protests that she doesn't have a clean firing line to the intended target. M insists and in so doing makes the wrong call -- and Moneypenny proves she is a great shot by hitting moving men atop a moving traing at a great distance. Neverthelss, she hits Bond rather than the target and Bond goes missing and presumed dead for a period. This is dramatically important to the entire plot, since it is used to make the case that M is getting too old for espionage. There is plenty of emotional tension and drama between the women in the moment as well. Finally, they are not talking about a man but about one of them committing murder on the orders of the other. This all passes the test.

Sure, Moneypenny takes a desk job in the final minutes of the moview. But just how long do you think she lasts on a desk in future movies after the superb fieldwork we've already seen her pull off teamed with Bond? I'll tell you: it's going to become a running joke that Moneypenny keeps saying she wants a desk job but in fact she can't stay out of the field. They've set that up beautifully.

It's not a feminist movie, but it's got serious women in it as well as sexbombs. Both ways of being women are legitimate; both kinds of women exist; both are in the movie; the existence of one kind of woman does not invalidate the existence of the other kind. The Bechtel test only requires that non-sexbomb type(s) of women be represented. Skyfall passes the test.
Message posted on 2012-12-26 02:21:14
Apple said:
It passes, M and the MP (who is named but just barely) and it's not about a man but that is the only reason it passes.

The fact that half the female cast is shot to death and one of them decides that being a secret agent is hard she'd rather be a secretary and half the named women flirt with Bond, means the movie fails any other test even vaguely feminist in nature. A tiny step forward but several large steps back.
Message posted on 2013-01-13 08:23:16
Evalin said:
I think the movie passes, but I don't see why Eve taking a desk job is that big a deal. She CHOSE to be a secretary, and I don't think that diminishes her as a character. Her personality is the same; she just is tired of being shot at and probably feels really guilty for "killing" Bond. Sitting behind a desk isn't going to keep her from being the exact same person she already is. She just might happen to live longer.
Message posted on 2013-01-28 19:04:19
Projektmanagerin said:
It passed the Bechdel test -however slightly.
That does not make it a feminist movie. Agreed.

But why are you all so negative about Moneypenny choosing a desk job - not any desk job either, mind you. First: it's her own choice. Second: Personal Assistant of "M" is surely by no means a menial task. Ask any PA of a CEO. It is a top job. It is a top job in the background, but it is still a top job. Third: M might come and go - pretty much interchangeable political figure - but the "grey eminince" (i.e. personal secretary including all that tacit knowledge, knowing the ropes) stays on.
Message posted on 2013-02-15 13:07:26
Takthebloodyshot disagreed with the rating and said:
Jesus, there's nothing dubious about this film passing the test. The line that makes it pass is arguably the most powerful one in the whole film - "take the bloody shot!". It is central to the plot, to all the tension between Bond and M throughout the film. Bond repeats it to M at least once.

M and Moneypenny are not just named characters, they're recurring characters in the franchise (this was Moneypenny's first appearance since the reboot, but it is unlikely she won't reappear; and even though Judi Dench's M dies, she had been M since before the reboot). The line is obviously said by M to Moneypenny, and it most definitely isn't about "men" - it is a command related to their job, the fact that both the intended target and Bond are men is tangential here.
Message posted on 2013-02-24 18:22:59
James said:
I have to disagree with Hanna a bit. I got the sense that Eve quit field work because she didn't like it, not because it wasn't lady like. And is now in an administrative position at M16 and not just Mallory's secretary. She's more like the new Agent Tanner.

Anyway, this film passed the Bechdel Test early on when M and Eve talk about the status of the mission and when M debates the female leader of the hearing against her.
Message posted on 2013-04-04 03:29:03
Creole B. said:
The movie passes the rating, even though it's sexist. It's BOND. Some people mat object Eve is a superb POC who has a powerful role only to end up a secretary.
Message posted on 2013-04-29 02:16:23
Scott S disagreed with the rating and said:
First off, Skyfall clearly passes the test. Secondly, I find the inference that Eve is somehow diminished as a person because she chooses to take a job working at a desk incredibly offennsive. She can do what she wants. I know she is a fictional character, but she can do whatever she wants. Am I supposed to look down on every female I know now because they're not secret assassin's working for the government?
Message posted on 2013-05-10 20:51:46
Meghan disagreed with the rating and said:
First off: it's a clear pass, as already discussed, nothing 'dubious' about it.

Secondly: @Apple, how the Hell is this 'several large steps back' for the Bond franchise? Have you SEEN the original series of movies? I love them all (well, except OHMSS but that's because Lazenbee was atrocious) but paragons of feminism they are not. That we had a bamf POC assuming the role of one of the main characters of the franchise was amazing in and of itself, as was showing her in a field position and then CHOOSING to assume a desk job. Is not CHOICE one of the central tenets of feminism?

No, maybe it isn't enough, not yet, but the Bond franchise has come a LONG way since Dr. No, so I don't see how it's unreasonable to assume that it will keep moving forward. Who knows? Maybe Idris Elba will be the next Bond after Craig retires.
Message posted on 2013-05-16 23:21:43
Minkmonk disagreed with the rating and said:
Sky fall was so boring that I found myself googling to see if anyone else realised that select committees aren't run by ministers but hold ministers and senior civil servants to account. And I came across this site and discovered that such a thing as the be heel test exists. Genius. Well Skyfall fails miserably. It's all about the guy. Female characters are just there to create light and shadow for our brave, conflicted, rugged, blue-eyed heroes. Yawn. M says to fight terrorism we need to fight in the shadows. The same applies to sexism. It's in skyfall in spades. It's just in the shadows. But thank you skyfall for being so tedious that I discovered this site.
Message posted on 2013-07-09 22:35:18
TAGilbert disagreed with the rating and said:
Passes Bechdel test.
Fails on most other gender equality points...
Message posted on 2013-11-10 19:50:21

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