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]] Snowpiercer (2013) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests (although dubious). It was entered by max on 2014-03-18 00:35:15.

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max said:
Tanya and Mason are talking about a boy, Tanyas son, of an age of 5 years.
Message posted on 2014-03-18 00:35:15
NessieNos disagreed with the rating and said:
The only exchange between two women in the whole film is a very brief question and answer about where a boy is. Just because that boy isn't full-grown doesn't mean this passes the test.

That said, it's kind of a shame, because this film does have more than the usual number of interesting, significant, named female characters: a tough mom hero, a gamine-ish young clairvoyant, a gun-wielding villain, an insane and hilarious teacher, and a propaganda mouthpiece with no humanity whatsoever. (Played by Tilda Swinton, no less.) They just don't talk directly to each other.
Message posted on 2014-06-20 19:01:08
Lauren said:
Mason interacts with the schoolteacher. I'm fairly sure that each of these women addresses lines toward the other. They speak about Wilford, but they speak about other things too.

If this teacher isn't named then I suppose this scene technically doesn't qualify. That said, the teacher is an interesting character and Mason is an interesting (and prominent) character and the scene in which these two interact is among the best in the movie. It tells us so much about the culture of the world of snowpiercer. The "name" specification is in the Bechdel test to differentiate between characters and non-characters (so a film doesn't pass when a random waitress says "yes ma'am" to a woman who orders a cup of coffee). That said, sometimes films have well-developed characters and we aren't told their names. Does the bride in Kill Bill vol. 1 count as a "named character." How about the waitress in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Mr. Big in Sex and the City?

So many other points where it maybe passes, but it never clearly hits this ball out of the park, like:

Mason and Claude are clearly speaking to each other during the tunnel mayhem. We can't hear what they are saying to each other, but they clearly are saying something like, "run, don't get stabbed," or something else that isn't specifically about the men in their lives.

Yuma and Claude have a big fight sequence at the end. Do they ever exchange any lines?

Whether this film technically passes or not, we should remember that the Bechdel test is for assessing the film industry as a whole and not for evaluating a single film. This film doesn't exactly have 50/50 gender representation, but it does have a number of well developed female characters. And it has such racial/ethnic/cultural diversity among the cast of characters (even if the principal hero and villain are both white guys). I mean, how many action films give a middle aged black woman something interesting to do? And I love the end of the film where it is implied that the "new Adam and Eve" consists of a black boy and an Asian girl.

So, maybe it passes and maybe it doesn't. And it isn't completely free from gender/ethnic stereotypes (but no film ever is). All in all, the film is taking strides in the right direction. People of all genders, races, and and nationalities fill roles as heroes, villains, sidekicks, sages, and kooky comic-relief rolls.

And (the biggest shocker) not one of the myriad female characters (not even the pretty 17-year-old girl) was shoe-horned into a love interest role. I don't believe there were any romantic plots anywhere in this film. Everybody in this movie (even the teenage girl) had more urgent things to worry about than their crushes.
Message posted on 2014-07-10 20:24:38
Miriam said:
I recall a conversation where Tanya supposed aloud to Mason that they must only have sushi once a year because they didn't have enough fish, and Mason replied by explaining that the issue was actually sustainability, followed by a brief summary of the concept. Mason's lines were heard by the men as well, but the reply was to what Tanya said. (In fact, directly before this, Mason offered the sushi, and Tanya was the one to agree that they should have some.)

It's not a pass to get up and cheer about, but I think it passes.
Message posted on 2014-07-22 00:24:07

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