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

[[1]] Spotlight (2015) [imdb]

This movie passed 1 of 3 tests. It was entered by dgyucca on 2016-02-02 10:43:36.



Jain Elliott said:
In a movie full of male reporters, lawyers, victims, and priests, Sascha, the only female reporter, gives her grandmother a copy of the Boston Globe story about the cover-up, and Nana says, "Can I have a glass of water?"
Message posted on 2015-12-06 18:23:31
Ted said:
Sasha's grandmother is not technically named, she is credited as "Sasha's grandmother" and is referred to as "Nana." There are a few other auxiliary female characters, some receptionists and wives but also a couple of female reporters and Judges. The other seen where Sasha talks to a named woman, Jane Paquin, it is about Paquin's brother, a priest who has just confessed to Sasha that he abused children.
Message posted on 2015-12-15 04:08:33
Magnolia said:
I agree with Ted that the grandmother is not named.
Message posted on 2016-01-24 00:52:17
Leigh said:
I also disagree. I don't think the grandmother asking for a glass of water in response to learning about the abuse by men in the church constitutes a pass. And the other only scene with her in it had maybe one or two lines and the character Sascha was talking to or through the brother, not directly with the grandmother.

Great well-made film, but greatly male-centric.

Message posted on 2016-01-30 02:48:53
dgyucca said:
Sacha and unnamed grandmother ("Sacha's grandmother" in IMDB cast list and called "Nana" in the film by Sacha) talk about a male priest in one scene. In another scene, the grandmother asks Sacha for a glass of water after reading about male priests.

Sacha has a brief interaction with a woman at a doorway ("Jane Paquin"), who tells her to leave because of Sacha speaking with the woman's brother.
Message posted on 2016-02-02 10:43:36
dgyucca said:
I agree with Ted and Magnolia and just submitted a review reiterating essentially everything Ted said, so feel free to delete my review because of my neglecting to correctly search the site for Spotlight (orig. thinking it was 2016, but when finding it was 2015, forgetting to relook) or keep as a rebuttal/updated review to this one.
Message posted on 2016-02-02 10:49:34
mat said:
Me too - "nana" is a common noun (like "mommy" and the woman's credit is not a name either.
Message posted on 2016-02-03 08:27:59
CA2MA said:
I actually think this glass of water scene is a critical and powerful sequence in the film. So while the grandmother isn't named, she is an important character--she is the voice of the average Globe reader. The cover-up that she is reading about is larger than just about men. It is about 1000s of people and the failure of an institution.
Message posted on 2016-02-17 20:28:50
Andrea said:
Sacha's exchange with Jane Paquin moves away from the subject of the brother as he leaves the scene, and Jane utters threats and intimations to leave the property. If someone could provide an exact transcript, it would help, but I think it's a pass.

In addition, Sacha speaks to the mother of one of the victims about the way that they were pressured by the church to stay quiet. This character is unnamed (I think), but then the named option is only mandatory to passing the first of the three tests (hence it being in square brackets).

Certainly a male-centric movie, but the rating is correct: it's a pass, if a dubious one.
Message posted on 2016-02-21 03:22:46
mat said:
In reply to Andrea, the threats to leave the property directly concern a man, her brother, who risks prosecution for child abuse now he has spoken to Sasha. This scene makes the film a 2/3, not a 3/3.
Message posted on 2016-02-22 08:08:44
Andrea said:
Mat, part 3 the test is not about whether a conversation can be linked back to a man, otherwise you end up with the Bridesmaids argument that it doesn't pass the test because all the conversations can be linked back to a wedding, and the wedding is to a man (look up that film on this site for some serious - and seriously hilarious - sophistry).

The question is whether the particular exchange is *about* a man. I'd like to see the full transcript before I cast judgment, but two women yelling at each other "Get off my lawn! / No!" doesn't count towards that end. It'll be a completely different case if she says, e.g. "Don't bother my brother again!"

Plus, as I argued, it's not the only relevant female-female exchange.
Message posted on 2016-02-23 19:11:57
mat disagreed with the rating and said:
Here is the transcript

JP: Who are you ?
S: Erm Sacha Pfeiffer, from the Globe.
JP: Please get off my porch.
(JP addresses her brother briefly)
S: I'm sorry, who are you?
JP: I'm his sister, and I don't want you coming back here.

cf Youtube 918acvj7L1Y at 3'44

To me the overall purpose of this exchange is each woman establishing what relation the other has to JP's brother. The film's passing turns on whether the first three lines are viewed as potentially disconnected from this purpose, and thus not "about a man". I would say no, but I'd be interested in your appraisal Andrea.

If it does pass it's (yet) another "by the skin of its teeth" case but never mind !

In any event - moderator ! - this is certainly a 2/3 and not a 1/3.
Message posted on 2016-10-17 09:04:34
Juanfraner said:
I agree with the rating. The rules 2 and 3 apply to NAMED women. Paquin's sister is never named, so it doesn't pass the 2nd test. It's a clear 1/3, IMO.
Message posted on 2016-12-28 05:34:59
Clint disagreed with the rating and said:
"Nana" is the name that is called by the daughter, a term of endearment though still a name. Though the scene itself is small, asking for water and a response, "sure Nana," it passes the three criteria given. I think this should pass, by the criteria set by the Bechdel test itself, though I wouldn't cry if it doesn't. It is weak in terms of female/female dialog.
Message posted on 2017-02-14 20:59:21
mat disagreed with the rating and said:
Juanfraner: she is named, in the exchange "Ronnie who are you talking to?" - "It's OK Jane" in the scene you can see on the Youtube link I quoted (at 3'41).
So once again, this is certainly a 2/3 and possibly a 3/3.
Message posted on 2017-02-21 07:32:30
Jennifer said:
I agree 100% with the rating. the only conversation that takes place between women is with Sasha and her grandmother. Her grandmother asks her for a glass of water. This movie is meant to be informative about the clergy abuses that took place in Boston. Sasha is the only female on the member of the Spotlight team.
Message posted on 2020-02-06 01:17:17
August said:
So, there is a 2nd female character in the film, but she is only present in the first 10 minutes and it is her column that is the impetus for the film's story. However, this presence in the film is merely a background presence. The character is named Eileen McNamara. She is present in the business meeting, Marty Baron mentions her by name, and the camera does give her focus but only briefly. She is in the background to such an extent that I don't think it warrants a 2/3.
Message posted on 2021-08-14 04:51:18
mat disagreed with the rating and said:
Jennifer and August: you both dispute that this might be a 2/3 but that is flatly contradicted by the extract I posted where Sasha Pfeiffer indisputably talks to Jane Paquin. The only issue is whether their exchange is about a man; if it isn't it would be a 3/3.
Message posted on 2022-07-01 12:20:21

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