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]] Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests. It was entered by Sherm on 2015-12-15 16:38:15.



Sherm said:
I have personally not seen the film yet. It still has two days until its releases nationally. However Rebecca Keegan, a respected Los Angeles journalist, tweeted moments after seeing the premier that: "Among its many wonderful qualities, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS passes the Bechdel test." This comes as no surprise as the film features a diverse cast of woman including Daisy Ridley, Lupita Nyong'o, Carrie Fisher, Gwendoline Christie, and more. Kathleen Kennedy, the film's producer and the president of Lucasfilm, has spoken on multiple occasions about how they've strived not only to represent woman on the screen, but also off the screen with many important crew positions. I will be adding more on my personal opinion after I see the film.
Message posted on 2015-12-15 16:38:15
Andy said:
Definitely 3/3, Maz Kanata and Rey talk about Rey's Destiny.
Message posted on 2015-12-21 02:15:09
Saitou said:
Rey and Maz talk about the etermal war with the Dark Side, and later about her longing to belong and her destiny.
Message posted on 2015-12-21 02:40:52
Jonathan said:
Interestingly there's only 1 instance I can recall for sure that passes the test, where Maz Kanata talks to Rey about her Force potential. Leia and Rey interacted but I don't think they exchanged words.
Message posted on 2015-12-21 03:28:23
tronic said:
Agree. For example:

1. Named females include Rey, Leia Organa, Maz Kanata and Captain Phasma
2. Rey talks to Maz and she talks to Leia (no other [major] female/female conversation though)
3. Maz talks to Rey about the Force and how it is calling to the latter. It is actually a very important conversation.
Message posted on 2015-12-21 10:51:02
Mike said:
The film certainly seemed feminist to me, with the main protagonist being a strong female and several other notable female characters. The only instance I can recall of it actually passing the Bechdel test is when Maz and Rey talk about the force, but there may be others (does Leia ever interact with Rey, or with other women in the Resistance?)
Message posted on 2015-12-21 16:11:54
DavidK93 said:
Having seen the movie, I can confirm that it passes. I think it may pass multiple separate times, but I can specifically affirm that Maz Kanata and Rey discuss the nature of the Force.
Message posted on 2015-12-21 16:52:47
Dausuul disagreed with the rating and said:
What are you doing rating a film you haven't seen? You couldn't wait three days to post this?

I have seen the film, and while it does have many more and stronger female characters than past "Star Wars" films (including multiple female stormtroopers, a nice touch), it's highly debatable whether it passes the test. The only scene I can think of is the one with Rey and Moz after Rey finds Luke's lightsaber; but that conversation is centered on Rey's family and the belonging that supposedly waits "ahead" of her. There is a strong implication that she is talking about Luke.

Since we can't yet be certain what Moz meant in that scene, we don't have enough information to know whether "Force Awakens" passes, and won't for a while. However, that was the only scene I noticed where it could *possibly* have passed. It certainly does not pass "with flying colors" as has been widely reported.
Message posted on 2015-12-21 17:49:36
Scoot disagreed with the rating and said:
The only named female to named female conversation I saw, between Rey and Maz, involved discussion of Luke and Vader.

Leia says one unreciprocated line to Rey at another point.
Message posted on 2015-12-21 20:32:40
Paul said:
The only conversation solely between Maz and Rey definitely talked about Luke and mentioned Anakin. So the question is: Do the two women have to not mention a male *at all* during the course of a conversation, or do they merely have to have a conversation the substance of which is not about a male, but which happens to include references to a male?

And then there's the single line spoken by Leia to Rey, without any response. Does *that* count?

This feels like a fairly gray area, not a "clearly pass" at all.
Message posted on 2015-12-22 02:15:42
Saitou said:
Rey asks Maz the nature of the "fight" that Han is avoiding, and Maz tells her about the war with the Dark Side and evil in all its forms.
Message posted on 2015-12-22 04:05:21
Alyson disagreed with the rating and said:
I'm pretty sure when we say "two women discuss something other than a man" we're not taking about tiny yellow non-humanoid life forms who happen to be played by female character actors. Maz could reproduce by ejecting spores from her eyeballs for all we know. And besides, that conversation was more than half a conversation about Luke and Vader.

Rey and Leia - the two "omg strong female characters" never have a conversation.

For me, it's a fail, which is disappointing based on how hyped the feminist quality of the movie was.

Message posted on 2015-12-23 14:18:29
A Sapient Raccoon said:
It passes.

As to Maz's gender, people called her "her". It doesn't matter how her species reproduces. When talking to humans in English, she identifies as female. That's good enough.

As to Maz and Rey's conversation: they talk about enough other than Han and Luke. We have movies here that pass where women only have one line of dialogue each. Maz and Rey say more than one line each about the force before they mention men.
Message posted on 2015-12-23 22:03:50
RT said:
It passes. Maz is a female character, the fact that she's not human is irrelevant in a movie like this.
Message posted on 2015-12-24 03:39:21
Evan said:
A couple thoughts:

1. Female human to female human interaction does occur between Leia and Rei, where they hug and Leia says "May the Force be with you." Whether this is enough to pass the test is unclear I think.

2. Even though Maz is an alien, we must grant the film that she is referenced with the female pronoun in English, which (although it merits another discussion about the absurdity of using English under the sad excuse of "Universal Basic" - linguistics is always screwed up in sci fi and fantasy) does give some credence to their interactions as basis for the film passing the test.

Message posted on 2015-12-24 22:06:53
spikey said:
Some movies - many movies, actually - have one Bechdel-passing conversation and that's all. That doesn't make them any less passing.

Maz and Rae discuss the lightsaber - Maz tells Rae it called her, Rae replies by saying she's never touching it again. That is a Bechdel-passing conversation.

It is standard to consider that if non-human characters can reasonably said to be female, they're female for the purpose of the test. Many animated movies use this criterion. Would anybody not say Eve from "Wall-E" is a female character?

Now, the fact that a movie passes the test (like Star Wars does) has no bearing on whether it is a feminist movie.
Message posted on 2015-12-25 06:14:42
saebou disagreed with the rating and said:
I don't think the film passes the bechdel test; virtually, the conversation between Maz and Rey is about Luke.
Message posted on 2015-12-25 13:48:48
london_spy said:
this movie sucks, as someone who can proudly say they saw the original 1977 movie at the theatre this film left a bitter taste. the female lead was just too good to be true, she could fly the millennium falcon and defeat the bad guy without breaking a fingernail. this is what audiences hate, we like to see human weakness in our characters.
Message posted on 2015-12-25 21:55:44
Saitou said:
As I've said, Rey and Maz had an earlier exchange before the lightsabre scene.

Rey: What "fight"?
Maz: The only fight that matters: against the Dark Side.
Message posted on 2015-12-27 03:56:59
Fenris said:
It's a pass on the merits of the conversation between Maz and Rey, but no others as far as I can recall. Trying to read one's own limitations into it is unfortunate, as I see it, since it detracts from the test's simplistic strength.

The test does not stipulate the women need be either terrestrial or human.

I also find it odd to claim that because a man is mentioned in a conversation, that conversation is "about a man". I concede there's some room for interpretation on that point but for me applying that standard leads to some kind of backwards appropriation. The core of the conversation mentioned was Rey and her relationship to the Force. Any males are mentioned tangentially to that and are not, in my opinion, what the conversation is "about".
Message posted on 2015-12-27 18:18:13
Cauldy said:
Maz and Rey have two separate conversations. The first is upstairs, in the "pub," when Rey asks "What fight?" and Maz explains the struggle against the Sith / Empire / New Order. The second is is downstairs, in the storage area, where they discuss several topics: the lightsaber, Rey's family, what Rey is going to do. Although you could argue one of these exchanges is about a man, not all of them are -- and the conversation as a whole is not. Even if you dismissed this entire second conversation as being "about a man" because one dude is mentioned, it doesn't negate their first conversation. It passes.
Message posted on 2015-12-27 20:25:20
Beth said:
The movie is a clear pass.

1. Named female characters: Rey (main character), Leia (important supporting), Maz (important supporting), and Captain Phasma (minor, but with the implication that she'll be more important later on). The test does not specify that the female characters must be human. Maz is voiced by a woman and is referred to as female, therefore she is a woman and she counts.

2. Maz and Rey have a lengthy conversation. Leia at some point says something to Rey, but Rey doesn't respond beyond meaningful glances.

3. Maz and Rey's conversation revolves around her past, her destiny, the lightsaber, and Rey's family (and there is ambiguity there because we don't know who that is). Yes, at some point Luke gets brought up, but it is not the focus of the conversation at all.
Message posted on 2015-12-28 00:42:43
CraXy said:
It definitely passes on more than one conversation between Maz and Rey. There's the one that Saitou quoted, and then there's also 2 lines at the end of the conversation about the lightsaber that are not about Luke, or Vader at all.

I don't know if 2 lines counts as a conversation, but they do talk to each other for 2 lines about something other than a man. I don't think there's any qualifier that the whole conversation has to be manless in subject matter.

Also, as an Engineer, I very much appreciated the technologically minded female character. I definitely think this is a nice step towards making up for the sexist star wars of old (*ahem* Episodes 1,2,3,4,5, and 6).
Message posted on 2015-12-28 01:09:03
Jen said:
3/3. This would be a movie the Dykes to Watch Out For would want to see, which is the "spirit" of the Bechdel test. Arguing semantics over the precise percentage of the qualifying conversations count, and how long a conversation must be to count, is the kind of stuff that only people who get a sad satisfaction out of shooting other people down get angry over.
Message posted on 2015-12-28 04:49:54
Eli disagreed with the rating and said:
This movie fails the test.

The conversation with Maz and Rey revolves around Rey inheriting Luke Skywalkers' saber and fight. The conversation about her destiny in terms of carrying on a man's legacy. The conversation is overtly about men.
Message posted on 2015-12-28 05:20:58
mary disagreed with the rating and said:
I disagree with the "passing" grade.
The only conversation between two women in the movie was between Maz and Rey (as others have stated). The conversation began *SPOILERS*
because of Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, and goes on to talk about the Force and Luke/Vader and Rey's future & destiny (which we can assume also refers to her push towards Luke for training since thats how the movie ends).
You might be able to argue that just talking about the force would allow the movie to pass, but it doesn't in my book - far too much grey area. I enjoyed the movie, and its strong use of female characters, but they missed what should have been several easy opportunities to pass a simple test.
Message posted on 2015-12-28 17:41:51
CraXy said:
1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

Whether or not it has a conversation between the two women doesn't matter. Under the above definition of the Bechdel test, Saitou's example gives the movie a pass.

Also, the last two lines of the conversation between Rey and Maz about the lightsaber pass.

Maz: I am no jedi, but I know the force it moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes. Feel it. The light, it's always been there. It will guide you. The saber, take it!
Rey: I'm never touching that thing again, I don't want any part of this.

They don't have to have the whole conversation be about something other than a man, they just have to talk to each other about something other than a man. While I agree that they had multiple opportunities to pass the test more concretely, those 2 lines definitely pass.
Message posted on 2015-12-29 17:05:04
Antha said:
I think it's interesting to note that there is possible evidence of Maz's gender beyond the pronouns people use for her. In the previous scene Han warns Fin "Women always figure out the truth". It's easy to assume he's talking about Rey, but an alternate interpretation is that he is talking about Maz. Anyway yes, totally passes and I a great movie IMO.
Message posted on 2016-01-03 07:32:00
Sean said:
I think some people are missing the focus of the exchange between Maz and Rey, in that it involved discussion of Luke and Vader.

The rule is that the conversation must be ABOUT something other than a man, not that it must not reference any males, at all. If you're focusing on the bits about Luke and Vader, you've missed the entire point of the conversation. The conversation was ultimately about Rey herself, and her destiny. Not Luke's destiny, or Vaders, or Han's. The conversation was about Rey. When you get down to it, the whole movie was ultimately about Rey and to a degree Kylo Ren. Everyone else was a support player.
Message posted on 2016-01-04 20:25:57
Mike said:
SPOILERS. Aside from the fact that this film strictly passes the test during the aforementioned conversation between Maz and Rey, and disregarding some comments containing qualitative reviews of the film itself, I believe Rey is the first action movie hero in a long while that really grasps the spirit of the Bechdel test itself.

As a female hero, she is shown to be a badass but then her badassery doesn’t evaporate the second a male hero shows up. In fact, from their first encounter with each other, her onscreen relationship with Finn largely involves the humor around her NOT needing to be “rescued” by a man; it is rather she who more often rescues the male heroes.

- She helps Finn escape Jakku; he has shown in his last escape that he is useless without a pilot. Several humorous jabs are given, including “LET GO OF MY HAND!” and the look she give him when he asks if she’s OK
- She saves Finn and herself from poison gas on the Falcon;
- She saves Finn, Han and Chewy from the monsters and gangsters using her door-closing tricks;
- She escapes Kylo’s imprisonment on her own, using her talents and skills and the Force;
- In the end, Finn is defeated in the Saber battle; Rey has to defeat Rylo and bring Finn to safety

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, aside from one tossed-off line from Finn (do you have a cute boyfriend?)—which is completely ignored by Rey— it is clear that their relationship is not sexual and will not be. At the end (after she saves him) she says very clearly “I’ll see you soon MY FRIEND” and goes off to be a badass by herself.

It is a very rare film I can recall of this type where nobody “gets the girl” at the end. She is her own character, separate from her gender, and is playing a role in a story that with very, very minor changes could easily have been played by a male.
Message posted on 2016-01-26 22:39:32
JamJam said:
Near the end Leia also tells Rey "May the force be with you."
Message posted on 2016-01-27 18:05:29
Raijinn said:
Aside from Maz Kanata talking to Rey about her destiny, another conversation, albeit smaller, is when Leia wishes Rey good luck in finding Luke; "May the Force be with You."
Message posted on 2016-02-04 06:30:41
Sometime said:
Rey (lead heroine) talks with Maz Kanata (female alien tavernkeeper) about the force. A bit dubious, because Maz is an alien, the talk is brief, and the force in this discussion is referencing Luke's lightsaber. On the plus side, Rey and Maz are both exceedingly strong female characters.
Message posted on 2016-04-23 12:51:37
S disagreed with the rating and said:
So there's this scene in the film, where Captain Phasma, who sort of represents a challenge to stereotypical views about gender and power, inexplicably is disempowered, gives up the shield code, and then having gotten what they wanted hustled by three male characters into a trash compactor. I believe that the subtext there about gender/power and the repudiation of empowered women, would undo any trivial passing of the Bechdel test that could be attributed to a conversation between Mas and Rey.
Message posted on 2016-04-26 03:07:29
ellen said:
The scene with Maz and Rey may well end up being about Luke, but only indirectly. It's not specifically about any one person at all, unless that person is Rey; the two of them discuss Rey's connection to the lightsaber, what it means for her past and her future. Yes, the lightsaber previously belonged to Anakin and Luke, and the 'belonging' referred to may well end up meaning Luke - but we don't know that, and in my opinion it doesn't particularly matter, because it is not about Luke. It's about Rey, and her finding the connection to another person that she's been looking for. I think this passes.
Message posted on 2016-05-22 03:13:22
Eli disagreed with the rating and said:
I disagree with the rating.

Maz and Rey have a conversation about her taking over Luke's legacy. The entire framing is actually centered around a male patriarch. That means that even the brief muttering about the force is within the context of Luke. The conversation is about a man.

The whole point of the bechdal test is that it's not difficult to pass. The interpretation is supposed to be loose. But no one could possibly frame that conversation as not being in the context of the male character. The movie fails the bechdal test.
Message posted on 2016-08-25 17:54:07
Ed Ovalleys said:
I agree in the rating 3/3 and also ask for the Mako Mori test, if represented in the story..
Message posted on 2017-02-01 18:24:28
shorty said:
it passed the official test but this movie is already aging poorly and drawing criticism. It really only has one proper female character, and she's been called a Mary Sue and not terribly deep. All the other females are one dimensional. Somebody needs to launch a totally new sci-fi franchise that actually focuses on women as real characters. And more than one of them.
Message posted on 2022-10-15 19:19:17

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