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]] World War Z (2013) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests (although dubious). It was entered by maurice on 2013-06-22 07:36:31.



maurice said:
brad pitts 2 daughters talk to each other in the 2nd scene in the movie. older daughter(rachel) says look what i found!
and hands lil sister a rabbit. sister(constance) says thanks!!!
Message posted on 2013-06-22 07:36:31
Nimravid said:
The named women are Karin (Gerry's wife) and Segen, a soldier. The two other named female characters are Gerry's two young daughters Rachel and Constance. No named adult women talk to each other in the movie, but the daughters speak to each other very briefly in small, non-plot relevant scenes. Karin also plays a guessing game with her daughters and tells Rachel that Rachel's grandmother is British.

Some detailed asides which have to do with gender portrayals in the movie, but don't affect the Bechdel rating:

The negative aspects of nature are personified as Mother Nature, a serial killer "bitch."

Segen is a female soldier and is portrayed in a non-sexualized, competent, completely standard movie soldier way. Excepting maybe that kiss on the head.

Brad Pitt's character is a house-husband and it is not denigrated or played for laughs. His competence as a parent is shown as natural for someone with military competence, and vice versa.

Karin has to be rescued from an attempted rape.

Gerry's wife and children are used as his character motivation.

Gerry tells a young boy to protect "the ladies" (including Karin, an adult woman) and calls him "tough guy," in contrast to calling his own daughter a baby and (after she protested she wasn't a baby) a "beautiful" small adult.
Message posted on 2013-06-22 21:39:24
Callie disagreed with the rating and said:
I appreciate that Maurice admits the rating is dubious. I'd go as far as to say it doesn't pass as the two female characters are not women, but children.
Message posted on 2013-06-22 22:30:48
Oscar said:
A very low pass, but it does pass.
Message posted on 2013-06-24 05:21:16
Jesus said:
Also, when they're in the random van, the mother is shown talking to the older daughter about breathing through her asthma.
Message posted on 2013-06-25 02:55:39
Serena disagreed with the rating and said:
Those are young children; that's not a conversation!
Message posted on 2013-06-25 19:21:56
Ben said:
Children don't count as female characters?
Message posted on 2013-06-25 22:16:31
James said:
Not counting the kids is really weird. Would a Harry Potter movie not pass on a conversation between Hermonine and Ginny?
Message posted on 2013-06-27 16:36:35
Gwen disagreed with the rating and said:
@Callie @Serena what are you two smoking? Female children count as female characters! I disagree with this rating because it is not dubious at all, it is a clear and indisputable pass. Period. If talking animals count as female characters, THEN SO DO HUMAN FEMALE CHILDREN. How the Hell is this even a question?
Message posted on 2013-06-27 17:14:27
James said:
This is still a pretty dubious pass however. Brad Pitt's children don't exactly have any meaningful exchanges. I'd also say Brad Pitt's wife doesn't have any meaningful exchanges with anyone, outside of token manipulative "We demand you care about this person because he has a family stuff between big chase scenes."

It had a better chance of a less dubious pass if the female Mossad agent and the female WHO scientist got to have a meaningful exchange. Since these two characters were together for a decent chunk of the movie and probably the only women playing an active role in the story.
Message posted on 2013-06-28 23:24:59
Jen said:
I think the spirit of the test would suggest that a conversation between a mother and her daughter or between two girls would not count unless it was essential to the plot. This test is supposed to measure the importance of the female characters to the plot, not just count how many lines they get in the script.
Message posted on 2013-07-02 16:27:52
Arrow said:
The mother/daughter asthma conversation would definitely count if the older daughter was named. Was she named? I swear I don't remember her being named. I agree she wasn't an important character in the film. Nor was the wife, really, but I remember her name at least. It was dismaying how the family was pawned off as motivation while the hubby went off to Do Important Work.

I really, really dug Segen.
Message posted on 2013-07-04 01:07:00
Rodrigo Ortiz Vinholo said:
I have to agree that although dubious, we can't dismiss the characters for being children or less plot-relevant than Pitt's character or Segen. The test's simplicity is clear. Despite the bad writing that plagues a lot of the movie, it passes. Barely, but it passes.
Message posted on 2013-07-08 03:24:09
Daniel Hofverberg said:
Just like Arrow, I'm also not sure whether Rachel (the eldest daughter) was named during the actual Movie. Both daughters were named in the credits, but I can't remember Rachel's name coming up in the actual film.

However, the conversations between Karin and her two daughters is probably enough anyway to consider the film to pass the test; although it is by a rather small margin.
Message posted on 2013-07-10 23:04:55
Til said:
Rachel was definitely named in the film; I can't cite a specific instance of when, but I knew her name without reading it in the credits, so it was said at some point though likely in a way that was easy to miss.

My question is if "Segen" really counts as being named since it's actually her rank title, not her name.
Message posted on 2013-07-16 05:13:53
Will disagreed with the rating and said:
I think you have to discount child characters. The whole point of the test is to assess cinema's representation of women as interesting, complex characters - the key word here is "women", adult women. The fact that adult female characters are trivialised (or infantilised) by only ever being allowed to discuss men is not going to be offset by having two little girls discussing pancakes.

Most child roles in films are simply cutesy window dressing or plot cyphers for the adult characters (as with World War Z). There are exceptions - Harry Potter, for example - but they actually support the argument that, shamefully, kids' movies actually tend to present a better gender balance than their more grown-up equivalents.

Moreover, in the case of World War Z, when not simply providing a kind of inconsequential background noise of dialogues (pancakes, the quiz game in the traffic jam), most of the two girls' lines are of the "Daddy, Daddy!" variety - geared towards emphasising the gravity and motives of the male protagonist's actions.
Message posted on 2013-07-18 02:23:13
Anna said:
Rachel was name in the movie, although I don't think the younger daughter was. When the explosion happens, and she is hiding on the floor in the backseat, Karin says something along the lines of "Rachel, baby, you have to get up. Rachel put your seat belt on." And there she may have been named in the rv when they're trying to calm her down, but I'm not sure.
Message posted on 2013-07-19 00:12:53
Erin said:
Rachel was named in the movie when Karin is attempting to get her daughter to sit in her seat. And I am sure (though not one hundred percent) both girls are named before that scene, when they are having breakfast. This movie passed with a 3/3 because despite them being children, the two daughters ARE female, and though their conversation wasn't exactly rocket science, it wasn't about a man.
Also, Karin had to be saved from rape by her husband, but she was also being overpowered and had had shown previous to that scene she had no military (or otherwise) training to defend herself, unlike her husband. BUT SHE DID PUT UP A FIGHT. Karin did exactly what you are supposed to do: fight and scream and cause attention. She had been aided in the rescue, but please don't give her husband the credit. Plus, she kept order to her family while he was away, and though she wasn't being totally kick ass, she somehow maintained order and dignity while there was a zombie infestation depopulating the planet.
Segen was totally kick ass, there is no way to doubt this. The only time she ever shown fear was when she was bitten, except the next day (or was it two?) she volunteered her life on an iffy mission.
She was watching over the camera while the men and Segen went to look for the diseases. Segen and her had spoke after that, and I am pretty sure it wasn't about a man but the disease itself. (Actually, I am very sure it was about whether or not the cure was going to even work or not). This movie deserves a 3/3, plus it has kick ass Segen.
Message posted on 2013-07-25 23:17:17
Rodrigo Ortiz Vinholo disagreed with the rating and said:
Discounting children would be an automatic fail for movies like Coraline, in which main characters ARE children. The Bechdel test never specifies women as "grown women", so the children in World War Z count.
Message posted on 2013-07-29 03:23:28
Milena disagreed with the rating and said:
i was thinking about this during the movie.
Erin, i actually also thought that considering how much time they spent together that the scientist woman and the military woman would have had at least one exchange there. so i actually rewatched this part of the movie again. they never share a word, and it seems really strange bcs the scientist is talking to others and then Segen asks something and the scientist looks at her, but the head of WHO steps forward between them and answers Segan.
the kids ''problem'' just feels really slipery to me. its feels like putting a token irrelevant african-american character, in a movie that allover has a racist idea or image and saying that makes the movie not racist.
i found it amazing that even in the latino apartment they solved this problem by having the child translate, and the wife has no saying in the decision making about do we leave the apartment with the army man and get to a chopper or stay and try to wait it out. i was disapointed to see Segan turn into a guard dog for Gerry, just jumping and executing ''orders''. i actually usually dont even notice these things, but this movie just screams at you. we know nothing about Segan in this movie, then why sould we really care about her? i cared more about the head of WHO than her, i knew his motivation, i knew his story, his suffering and frustration about the virus, within 10minutes of his entry. she hardly even has lines and shes in like half of the movie. i felt his wife had no other expression than worry and fear, and the way they used her as a silly plot point with the cell phone? blah. i just coulnt believe this was happening, wheres the brain and years of experience with her husband being in the military on dangerous missions? the scientist woman(credited as ''WHO doctor''), i felt was the only female character of substance, doing something on her own, thinking on her own, making decisions etc.
Message posted on 2013-09-19 00:39:21
Day said:
The one thing everybody is missing is that the wife (who's name I am regretably forgetting) and the latina mother speak in the apartment about food without Tom? (the kid) translating twice! In Spanish! I think that counts for something, in addition to the girls speaking to each other. It barely passes, but it passes.
Message posted on 2013-09-29 03:14:15

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