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]] Arrival (2016) [imdb]

This movie passed 3 of 3 tests (although dubious). It was entered by SaraBC on 2016-11-12 01:37:26.



SaraBC said:
Mom and daughter speaking about various things, although most of the time the idea of Dad is not that far. Kind of peripherical to the main action - strange timeline, I don't want to spoil anything. Daughter named maybe 30 minutes before the end.
Message posted on 2016-11-12 01:37:26
cubby disagreed with the rating and said:
nothing dubious about the rating.

The main character and her daughter have a conversation about her daughter's name in addition to a multitude of other conversations. This movie fully passes
Message posted on 2016-12-06 02:21:30
Ron Dawson said:
I don't think the girl in this movie should count as a "woman." Not because she's a girl, I think young girls are fine to be qualifying parameters; but because the daughter is more of a plot device, or dare I say, and "object." She's no character of substance. Without trying to spoil anything, you could pretty much call her a brief "memory." Not quite sure that should meet the qualifications for "two woman who talk to each other."
Message posted on 2016-12-08 15:31:51
Kelly said:
Can't actually remember when Louise or another female talked to another female, HOWEVER I thought this was a great movie for a female lead who holds her own and is utilized for her intelligence and experience as a linguist. She's not sexualized or spending the movie being pursued or pursuing someone else.
Message posted on 2016-12-13 22:08:46
Papp Ágnes Veronika said:
I think it's a pass - and with flying colours.
I even think Hannah (the daughter) is kind-of-a semi-protagonist, because she takes an inevitable part of the twist in the film.
Message posted on 2016-12-23 16:02:59
Mary said:
Stirring to see a brilliant professional woman at work in her office, explaining things to outsiders. The scenes where she is surrounded by men, men in armor & with guns, also tell us a lot about work life. Interesting to watch them grow to depend on her expertise. Also good to see a woman on screen who is 1) not a hooker, 2) is not forced to smile all the time. Thank you, Amy Adams.
Message posted on 2017-02-01 23:30:27
Dave said:
I believe Hannah qualifies.
We also do not know the gender(s) of Abbott and Costello, if they have any. Dialogue between those three is the crux of the story.
Message posted on 2017-02-18 19:04:14
Victor disagreed with the rating and said:
Arrival is a great movie with a strong female protagonist, but it FAILS the test. Conv. w/ mother on telephone doesn't count, mother is never shown, which is an assumed condition of the test since it is about motion pictures. Talks w/ daughter are plot devices & don't count because they are woman/child conversations. It is kind of an exception to the rule, though, because the strong female lead is in a a way the sole protagonist of the movie.
Message posted on 2017-02-25 16:55:42
Jen disagreed with the rating and said:
Not dubious.

Louise talks to Hannah about why her name is Hannah (it's a palindrome).

When it happens--past, present, or future--is irrelevant because if it's in the movie, it counts. They had a conversation about something other than a man.
Message posted on 2017-03-12 00:40:16
Ruth disagreed with the rating and said:
I agree with the above comments that this movie is a very dubious pass. If nothing else this film is a fantastic example of how terrible the Bechdel test is for actually assessing the feminist worth of a film, low and irrelevant bar. This movie is one of the best feminist, and possible ONLY feminist sci-fi, films I have ever seen.
Message posted on 2017-03-21 09:33:31
Daniel Hofverberg disagreed with the rating and said:
There is nothing dubious about this - the movie definitely passes the Bechdel test.

Louise talks to her daughter Hannah several times, and of course Hannah must count as a named woman even though she's a child - the test says nothing about ages.

That being said, many of the conversations between Louise and Hannah do revolve around Hannah's (absent) father, but there are at least a couple of scenes which aren't dubious.
Message posted on 2017-05-05 08:46:25
Saebou disagreed with the rating and said:
I think this film obviously passes the test (not dubious), because Louise and Hannah talk about Hannah's name.Whether it is a plot device or not has nothing to do with the test, and a girl should count as a female character although she is very young.
Message posted on 2017-05-22 12:50:56
george said:
1. Amy Adams takes the first billing.
2. Jeremy Renner is gender neutral. Definitely not macho like his Jason Bourne.
3. Aliens she talks to could be female. Definitely not macho like Transformers.
Message posted on 2017-11-14 00:17:06
MissGrimke said:
The main character is virtually the only woman in the movie. The only other women are news readers on screens. We can call this a "Magical Lady" movie: The woman has magical powers of communication that save the world! The daughter exists only as a plot device. Amy Adams is great, the message is nice, but surely they could have found even bit parts for a dozen or so women among dozens of men. Zero other women was just plain weird.
Message posted on 2018-01-14 02:33:07
Edgardo disagreed with the rating and said:
Agreed with Ron Dawson. I think the girl in this movie shouldn't be considered as a character. She's an object or a plot device.
Message posted on 2018-05-24 19:40:46
Sam said:
I think that the conversations with Hannah cause this film to pass. There are also only around 7 named characters in this film, if you don't count the soldiers' nametags. The lack of visible female leadership in the military and global political environments is, I believe, intentional. It is used not to discount the voices of women, but to highlight Louise's voice in such male-dominated space. The fact that men are in charge of everything in this film is portrayed as a negative, to be subverted.
Message posted on 2021-11-09 17:43:30
Anya disagreed with the rating and said:
Whilst Hannah and Louise have two significant conversations with one another - 'palindrome' and 'Zero-sum game', we still can't rule out the gender of the aliens. If that bloody awful film 'Love Actually' passes because of a lobster costume conversation, then this amazing film definitely passes, in my opinion.
Message posted on 2023-12-09 15:16:17

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