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]] Salt (2010) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Kim on 2010-07-24 19:00:43.



Angela Wilson said:
Cleo (named character) is Salt's young neighbor.

When Salt gives her the dog, they have a conversation (not about men).
Message posted on 2010-07-24 22:53:41
Elizabeth said:
I agree with Angela. Watching the movie I wasn't sure if having a conversation with a female child counted as "women who talk to each other about something other than a man", but given how many adult women talk to female children in movies about man-related topics (love! marriage! babies!), it was nice to have them talk about something else all together.
Message posted on 2010-07-27 02:05:48
Elise said:
True and true. I will say this, though: did their conversation absolutely HAVE to include, "I hate math"? Really? (Spoiler alert) My friend said, "Maybe hating math was part of the deep cover."
Message posted on 2010-07-27 17:30:18
Jojo said:
Do the two male characters talk amongst themselves about anything other than Salt herself?
Message posted on 2010-07-29 03:02:54
Elfwreck said:
Aliens passes because Ripley talks with Newt about the monster; conversations between an adult woman and a girl count as two women.
Message posted on 2010-08-02 19:52:09
The Nerd said:
To say that talking with the girl doesn't count is to imply that her youth negates her "femaleness".

Also, bonus points for this entire movie being a gender role-reversal from the typical spy movie stereotype.
Message posted on 2010-08-03 02:55:10
Kim said:
I missed that the child had a name. I must have been trying to figure out a math problem when they said her name :)
Message posted on 2010-08-03 18:21:10
Shadow said:
If the conversation hadn't veered in the direction of such an insidious stereotype, I'd disagree with the rating. As it is, I'd have preferred a conversation about a man to a conversation ending with "I hate math". Would it have killed them to have her say "Well, it's important, keep at it" instead?
Message posted on 2010-08-08 14:17:00
neil (webmaster) said:
I've updated the rating (was 0/3, is now 3/3).
Message posted on 2010-08-10 06:31:49
Jessika said:
@ The Nerd
The entire movie wasn't a gender role-reversal of typical spy movies. For one, the other agents and officials would have been mostly female if that were true.
Message posted on 2010-08-20 19:50:00
John disagreed with the rating and said:
I saw it for the first time yesterday, and though I wasn't looking for it, I seriously don't remember that little girl having a name. I've found an early version of the script (p29) where the girl is literally just called "girl" - no name is mentioned.

It is possible that a name was included in the final script, (though I'd need to see it before I believe it) but even if it was, the conversation in question was incredibly short and had almost nothing to do with the rest of the film.

In fact the thing that struck me most about the film was that there are no other female characters, let alone conversations. Everything about this film is very Bechdel-fail in my opinion.
Message posted on 2010-08-23 12:20:56
John disagreed with the rating and said:
To follow on: I've been searching for where you get this Cleo name from...I can't find it. On IMDB, for example, it simply lists "Salt's Young Neighbour" as a character name. See IMDb full cast list.

There are a couple of sites which list this young neighbour's name as cleo, which I found on a google search, but they are both highly dubious sources with no citation or authority. I'm pretty sure the character is nameless and thus fails Bechdel. Not that I think this makes it a bad or anti-feminist film, but it is clearly a Bechdel fail.
Message posted on 2010-08-23 14:16:40
Ruff said:
I doubt we can trust IMDB on whether or not "Cleo" was named in the movie. They also list "Chenkov's Father" and "Chenkov's Mother", who I'm pretty sure Orlov referred to by name during in his voice-over, and a few others who probably were too, like "New Russian President". (Not that any of these actually spoke or would make the movie pass the test -- just that we can't trust this movie's IMDB entry to tell us whether characters are named. Better wait for the DVD.)

If "Cleo" ends up not counting, that would drop _Salt_ down to one test, or maybe none. Maybe our moderator who came up with the "named" condition can give us an official ruling: What happens for the first test if all the women who speak don't have names and all the women with names don't speak? (Yeah, they obviously won't have second-test-passing conversations, but does not speaking mean they don't even count as *characters* for the first test?)

Incidentally, I see where people are coming from about the "I hated math too" line, though it struck me much more as a lame attempt by an adult to bond with a kid with insincere sympathy (that even the kid didn't seem to be buying), rather than "Being female made even my super-spy brain incapable of dealing with math." Still, complaining about spelling or an English essay *would* have been nicer.
Message posted on 2010-09-28 20:40:14
Kelly Garbato disagreed with the rating and said:
I watched the film on DVD after reading the comments here and, at least in the Unrated Director's cut, Salt does not address Cleo/the neighbor girl by name.

Also, "Salt" does pass the reverse Bechdel, and rather early in: Peabody & Winter discuss Orlov when he first "defects" to the CIA. Possibly there are additional examples, but I stopped paying attention after the first.
Message posted on 2011-03-05 04:05:30
Fantomex said:
Talking about how math is hard IS NOT a deficit-it is hard for those not inclined to it (I'm 23 and still having problems with math myself!)

The character is partly defined by a love affair with somebody, therefore it's not completely about her being with a man, just the main storyline of her finding out she's been deep programmed (just like the sleeper agents in the movie Telfon).
Message posted on 2011-03-11 21:10:25
Toon said:
With regard to this movie being a gender-role reversal: I have heard that it was originally intended to star Tom Cruise and someone had the brainwave of putting Angelina Jolie in instead.

Message posted on 2012-01-02 23:09:00
zarg said:
Speaking as a male, who while able to do it fairly well (say 127 x 12 without paper or calc), also hates math: I see no problem with Super Spy Female hating math. Given the film, she probably learned by torture / draconian means... Some folks (my wife) enjoy it, some folks don't... I really detest algebra :P, some do it to relax.
Message posted on 2013-08-06 20:43:29
Tony disagreed with the rating and said:
@The Nerd,

I do not believe saying that would negate her "femaleness". "Women" does not necessarily imply all of female. The goal of the test is to assess female characters who are matured enough for a discussion of another man but choose to talk about something else. In other words, women.

Films that feature primarily girls, younger, and involved in a plot about some romance could count. Take for instance, The Little Rascals (1994). It passes 2 out of 3 tests but fails to hit the mark because the girls failed to talk about anything else besides a boy.

A women, more than likely capable of sexual reflection, and a girl, who by cinematic and Hollywood societal standards is innocent, what else could Salt talk about? Anything else besides a man, not by character choice but through the writer's restrictions.

Therefore, I would have to disagree with the rating.
Message posted on 2015-05-03 23:50:04
Azul disagreed with the rating and said:
The rating is incorrect. Although Salt and her neighbor talk about math, the girl doesn't have a name. I don't think any other woman is named, actually.
Message posted on 2018-04-21 16:36:24
Mercédès disagreed with the rating and said:
I checked the dvd credits and rewatched the scene, the girl is actually not named in the movie
So it’s a 0/3
Oddly I remember when I saw this movie first
Thinking “oh they put that in to pass Bechdel and
Have a required dog” but without name for the girl
It doesn’t count, had the girl a name it would
Totally pass, very close but it’s a fail
Message posted on 2020-12-27 21:05:13

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