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]] Brave (2012) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Tim on 2012-06-23 14:35:26.



Tim said:
Merida and Elinor talk a lot, mostly about their relationship with each other and societal customs. Merida and the Witch talk about Merida's relationship to her mother.
Message posted on 2012-06-23 14:35:28
Eliae said:
Indeed, this is the only children's animated movie I know of that is ultimately *about* a mother-daughter relationship, and the only princess-genre film that does not resolve around a male romantic attachment. It's still Disney & conventional on many details... but it passes Bechdel test w flying colors.
Message posted on 2012-06-27 13:44:47
Undead Hippo said:
"Indeed, this is the only children's animated movie I know of that is ultimately *about* a mother-daughter relationship,"

Does Tangled not count?
Message posted on 2012-06-27 19:07:46
thewhitefire said:
@Eliae: convention isn't necessarily bad and the ones it breaks are very important: she doesn't rely on a man to save her (her mother saves her in the end), she takes charge and makes her own decisions, and she doesn't think she needs a man in her life to feel fulfilled. As for the test. So very easily passed.
Message posted on 2012-06-29 06:34:49
phildog said:
"Does Tangled not count?"

Noooo. No. No. No. No. Nnoooooooo. She's the villain, and her real mom isn't even listed in the credits. I don't know if she has any lines.
Message posted on 2012-07-09 04:04:00
Dr. Kat said:
Coraline is also a mother-fake mother-daughter relationship....
Message posted on 2012-07-17 03:06:47
Undead Hippo said:
I think a villainous fake mother-daughter relationship still counts as a mother-daughter relationship.

I'd also say Tangled still counts as being about a Mother-Daughter relationship, even though it is also about a romance. Since the two things are directly set against each other, and the story doesn't work at all if either is removed. In fact, it would be much easier to remove the romance than remove the mother. Does that mean it's "Ultimately *about*" a Mother-Daughter relationship? Maybe not. Not to the same extent as Brave anyway. But I think it's at least worth consideration.
Message posted on 2012-07-19 20:30:21
SquareDance said:
Undead Hippo, Repunzel didn't need a man to complete her until at last she saw the light, as they put it in the movie. But yes, it is a step in the right direction (and for the record, I love that movie), but Brave really unquestionably passes the test with flying colors.
Message posted on 2012-07-26 18:00:59
Mash said:
@Undead Hippo Tangled did have a mother daughter relationship, but it was poorly written. They only interacted three or four times and most of that was Mother Gothel belittling, manipulating, or assaulting her 'daughter'. And then Rapunzel turns on her as soon as she finds out the truth. I mean, I get being angry, but it was like she just flipped a switch and stopped caring. Pretty much what I'm saying is, it was a very poor excuse for a mother-daughter subplot. AND they were the only two named female characters in the movie.
Message posted on 2012-07-28 03:04:15
Perfectly Idiomatic said:
I don't think the relationship in Tangled was poorly written- it was meant to be abusive. And too right she stopped caring, this woman literally locked her away for eighteen years; that's pretty good reason to turn on someone, I feel. To be honest, I was annoyed that she looked upset when Gothel fell from the tower- I would've found it hard to care.
(P.S. Isn't
Message posted on 2012-08-20 02:21:59
Tal Miz said:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! TANGLED?! Tangled is one of the most sexist movies from disney. Its about the liberation of the young woman Rapunzel, but her liberation includes getting married to a very sexist prince who isent even nice to her. Its totally twisted.
Message posted on 2012-10-12 18:48:28
TrueBlue170 said:
Tal Miz, are YOU kidding me? How is Tangled sexist? It teaches girls to stand up for themselves, she reverses a stereotype by using a frying pan as a weapon instead of a cooking, housewife utensil, and it's about liberation and fighting for those you love. And really? You're accusing Eugene, who isn't even a prince until the end, of not being nice to her? You seem to have forgotten that he DIES for Rapunzel. DIES. Sure, he comes back to life, but I think that any guy who is willing to die for the one he loves is sort of a keeper. :/
Message posted on 2012-10-17 08:37:38
luminum said:
Mulan is about the female lead's goals, defiance of societal gender roles, and her relationship with her father, and barely secondarily about her love for the male lead.
Message posted on 2012-10-18 04:24:43
Kate said:
While this film technically passes the test, the movie as a whole fails miserably. Do not lose sight of the fact that the entire film is a conversation around the way in which the princess will get married to a man. If this is Disney's idea of feminism, they can have it back.
Message posted on 2012-11-04 05:29:26
Mitchell Hundred said:
The film does not actually revolve around Merida getting married to a man. The plot's driving force is the relationship between her and her mother. Their conflict over marriage prospects is but one facet of that relationship.
Message posted on 2012-11-09 03:17:34
Gigi said:
I wish I could vote up a comment on here. Just wanted to back Mitchell. *thumbs up*
Message posted on 2012-12-10 16:33:17
Quouar said:
Kate, there is a difference between passing the test and being female-friendly. This isn't about what films are the most woman-friendly, just about which ones contain two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. This passes that test, regardless of how you feel about its overall message.
Message posted on 2013-01-06 03:16:06
Ireth said:
I agree with Kate, but also I would like to add that most of the time mother and daughter are arguing about societal customs that ultimately lead to taking care of men.So I'm not sure how much it counts. My first impression was 2/3,but I'm glad this page exists to prove me wrong... perhaps I expected more of this film.
Message posted on 2013-01-20 15:11:35
Zoe said:
I agree with Kate. Loved the movie, it passes the test, not that progressive.

More movies like Zero Dark Thirty (no torture though) about more women heroes who save the day, save the country, the CIA, save nature, the banking system, plant a garden, whatever, without it being about marriage. Just compare it to Mission Impossible or Skyfall- do the plots of those movies all point towards the guy trying to get married?
Message posted on 2013-03-01 17:02:20
purplepeas said:
I adore this movie so I just had to my two cents in. It may not seem overtly progressive, but for the time line (medieval) it shows a huge leap for women. Think about, instead of being forced into marriage, Merida is now allowed to choose. It's a great stepping stone for women of their kingdom.
Message posted on 2013-03-05 19:08:36
FauxFroFoSho said:
I liked this movie because I saw myself in it. I don't see myself in it because I was forced to be married, but because Brave depicts what it's like to have a *slightly* overbearing mother. I felt that the point of disagreement, marriage, was really a plot device created to depict mother-daughter tension in a way that was accessible to younger audiences. It definitely passes the test. And, in my opinion, it is definitely female-friendly.
Message posted on 2013-03-08 01:46:11
Fawn said:
Merida and her mother do talk to each other about a man. The whole point of the movie is that Merida just doesn't want to be married off. Yes, Merida and her mother work on their relationship, but the whole plot revolves around Merida challenging her mother by not wanting to marry a man she doesn't want to.
Message posted on 2013-03-16 10:08:41
lol said:
A movie doesn't fail the test simply because there's *A* conversation involving a man or *A* plot point involving a man.

It tests presence, not purity.
Message posted on 2013-03-19 22:56:40
Raphael said:
Fawn disagrees with the rating, but as lol points out, the disagreement flag is unwarranted. Please remove the exclamation point.
Message posted on 2013-04-10 22:31:19
thewhitefire said:
This movie definitely passed the test. In all honesty, the disagreement about the marriage is depicted more as the "straw that broke the camel's back" and less as the main conflict of the story. The main conflict was what a woman's role is, and whether tradition or the heart should determine that role, with the ultimate resolution being the heart, not tradition. Further, this film is a critique and a challenge to the conventions of the princess genre as a whole. First of all, it's the first time where the princess being called a princess and not a queen actually makes sense. Also, one of the few Disney/pixar films where both parents are in the picture, and finally a film that focuses on a mother/daughter relationship.
Message posted on 2013-04-13 01:57:10
Laurel said:
Remove the disagreement flag! This totally passes the test.
Message posted on 2013-05-17 21:11:10
Ellie said:
Brave is one of a very small number of films where the main agents are *all* female (Merida, Eleanor and the witch) and almost all the male characters are depicted as ineffective and usually two-dimensional. Several aren't even given voices. Sure, in the long run that is not what gender equality needs, but in our present male-dominated world, a film that turns the old gender table on its head is a very rare and brave thing to create. And it does it without being an especially girly film. Hurrah.
Message posted on 2014-11-03 22:39:39
Penny said:
I don't think the film was especially sexist. The male suitors turned out to be just as unhappy at being expected to marry someone chosen by their circumstances of birth as she was. I liked that twist.
Message posted on 2015-01-17 23:19:34
Cherokee said:
The main character is a female. Her name is Merida. While the conflict is over her betrothal, I don't think its really about any man. Merida just wants to be more and do more then what's being set out for her. The real conflict I think, is between her and her mother, Elinor. Their differing values and beliefs, coming to an understanding, Merida AND Elinor growing as individuals. And of course, changing her mother, Elinor, back into a human (she accidentally turned her into a bear (watch the movie)).
Message posted on 2015-02-13 05:38:30
Gwynneth said:
I absolutely LOVE this movie!It portrays a girl going against the role society is trying to make her live up to. And she manages to sword fight her father to save her mother.
Message posted on 2019-07-14 23:55:05
Brodie said:
I actually thought Brave epitomized the conflict between feminism and femininity. Yes, the conflict that puts Merida and Elinor's relationship to the test is a marriage proposal, but I think the movie helps dilute any one man from becoming too present by having three suitors instead of one. That film choice actually actively works against us sympathizing with any one of them too much, keeping our focus on Merida and Elinor.
Ultimately, I think Merida and Elinor represent two different kinds of womanhood. If you look at the scene where Elinor breaks up the fight, that shows how--by maintaining her traditional queenly status--she represents the ideal of women as complementary to men, the peacemaker that ends the fighter's brawl. Merida, on the other hand, is the progressive woman; she pursues traditionally masculine pursuits such as archery and horseback riding, without any hesitation due to her gender. In fact, her father actively encourages her through gifting her a bow and softening Elinor's criticisms of Merida's manners. He thinks he can empower Merida by simply letting her act more like a man.
Merida tries to solve her marital problem by outdoing men at their own game, and Elinor pushes back by burning Merida's bow, the symbol of Merida walking a womanhood different from her mother's. If you watch the quieter with Elinor and Merida, like when Elinor finishes dressing Merida or when they reunite after their fight, you can see that both women frequently almost seem ready to make concessions with each other. However, both choose not to budge. So after Merida encounters the witch in the woods--perhaps a character who symbolizes total rejection of society, itself a sort of woman's third option--she follows through on the magical cake that causes the movie's core problem. When Elinor turns into a bear, the advocate for peaceful measures is gone, and the clans quickly fall back into dispute.
As a bear, Elinor has been forced into a role even more wild and uncivilized than the men she grew up around. This adds a lot of humor to the film, but it also forces Elinor to look through her daughter's eyes. But the movie turns the screw once more by depicting flashes of Elinor losing all of herself to her bear self, which Merida witnesses. Merida is frightened by her mother--a caring presence, despite all their disputes--as Elinor turns wild and uncontrolled: free, in other words. As Elinor is exposed to the freedom of masculine pursuits, Merida begins to see the danger of of absolute freedom at any cos. This is further emphasized when Merida learns the fate of the oldest prince, a character who forsook all attempts toward peace and lost his sanity to become a bloodthirsty bear. This leads Merida to finally become what her mother tried to force her to be: a peacemaker.
I think the brilliance of this film is that it shows Elinor's tradition-bound femininity, stodgy as it is, has merit, too. When Merida uses the legend her mother told her to absolve the conflict of the clans, that was Merida finally realizing that the traditions and customs her mother pushed weren't just there to suppress young women like Merida but rather to keep the clans' peace. The men surrounding Elinor and Merida are always pushing for war, and Elinor has always done whatever she can to suppress the kind of war that cost lives. That's why she consistently recounts the legend of the four princes to Merida, the legend that leads Merida to recount the four clan leaders' feats of brotherhood toward each other. Their valor lies not in who they killed, but who they saved.
But just when Merida's about to follow through with betrothal, Elinor gives her a space to amend the customs and appease the internal conflict that's brewed clearly in Merida, and perhaps in her male peers, too. All three male suitors agree that they would rather marry on their time, rather than let their fathers push them into marriage. Just as Merida has realized that traditions and customs were born to keep the peace, Elinor realizes that those same customs may in fact cause further conflict if left unaltered. Though the oldest prince craved power at the expense of peace, she now sees that disempowering her daughter can backfire, causing a new, different kind of societal rift. At this point, both mother and daughter have learned from each other, syncretizing their core beliefs of traditional feminine roles and progressive feminism closer to each other's.
While the climax of the film had great action and an emotional boiling point, I believe the scene with Merida and Elinor working together to solve the clan dispute represented the film's best parts. Brave is a tale of two women learning from each other, progressing their feminism further while not discarding values simply because they appear feminine. Brave passes the Bechdel test technically, but I thought the story sang in how it dramatized this dispute. I'm sorry my post is so long, but this is such an underrated Pixar film and deserves a second look for how it portray's women's posterity.
Message posted on 2020-04-14 18:15:04

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