Jesus, Cuch. You're talking to one of the most well-read feminists on the boards, which negates your argument. Also, I like you, I think you're a good guy, but you painting everyone between the coasts with this huge brush o' bigotry is tiresome. /christian bale derail
Movie that totally fails this test: Jerry Maguire. I'm sure there's a scene that makes the movie pass in there somewhere, but Bonnie Hunt's Round Table Of Divorced Women (read: man-haters) should nullify that scene.
Originally Posted by DaveB
One of the more enlightening ways to apply this test is not to popular movies-at-large, but to movies in which women do figure prominently as main characters. I'd wager that the majority of big films with multiple female leads are romantic comedies or dramas and lean heavily on dialogue about men.
This ties back into something I was thinking about as it relates to Wolcott's point about minorities in film. For the most part, if you have a film with a majority Black, or Asian, or Hispanic cast, you're going to probably get a few "haha white people are dumb" jokes, but you're also going to hear a lot of talk that isn't about white people. If you apply that same standard to movie whose cast is made up primarily of women, yes, the odds are pretty good that the movie will be about men. (Which is one of the places where Sex & The City: The Movie fails when compared to the original series.*) I'm trying to think of a movie that has a cast that is more than 50% women that would qualify.
Here's another question, possibly dumb: Does #3 have to apply to men, or is it relationships in general? For example, if you have a lesbian couple in a movie that talks to each other/other women about their relationship, does that mean the movie passes or fails the test?
Related to that: If you have a mother-daughter relationship in a movie where the mother and daughter don't talk about a guy, does that mean the movie passes the test, or does it have to be two women of the same age?
Not really related to that (but see below): If a conversation between two women starts out being about a man, but moves on to other things, does the movie pass? What if the 'man' is used as a way to discuss broader issues?
I'm not trying to play the semantics game, but those are just some things I thought about. What's interesting to me about the test/this discussion is how it's not necessarily a marker of quality -- a film can fail the test, but still be a masterpiece, just like a film can pass and not be very good. Woody Allen's name has come up a couple of times in this, but who are some other writers/filmmakers that consistently pass this test? (The name that first springs to mind is Joss Whedon, oddly, but maybe that's because I've been rewatching Buffy. In fact, I know it is.)
Finally, I don't want to make this all about me, but in my scripts, I've always gotten a lot of positive feedback about the way I write women (and that's something I'm proud of, for the most part), but in thinking about how the Bechdel test applies to my own work, I realize that I fail, big time. The film I directed was all about relationships, and even though there were a lot of scenes between women, the majority of them dealt with a man at least in part. (One of the characters was dealing with the death of her long-term boyfriend, and even though he was never seen on camera, he came up a lot.) The script I'm writing now has a large number of female characters with names and speaking parts, but there only scene that would pass this test is going to come at the end, and even then, it talks about men.
*Which I recently watched from beginning to end over a period of several months, and I was surprised how enjoyable -- and how not about 'get a man, keep a man' -- that show winds up being in the end.