Alyssa's Top 10 Bechdel Test Approved Movies

LA based writer and founder of Alyssa Merwin recaps her favorites

The Bechdel Test is a very low bar for films to pass, unfortunately, many do not. In order to pass the Bechdel Test, a movie has to meet these standards:

  1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
  2. Who talk to each other
  3. About something besides a man
Read more about Bechdel Test Approved Movies at

1. Jackie Brown

In order for a movie to pass the Bechdel Test, it doesn't have to feature a strong female protagonist, but this movie happens to have one of the greatest. Jackie Brown is one of Quentin Tarantino's most underrated movies, as well as one of his many works with an interesting and complicated female protagonist.

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

If you had told me that the newest Mad Max movie was going to pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors, I probably wouldn't have believed you. The majority of the cast is made up of women and they each have their own part to play.

3. 20th Century Women

I consider this movie to be one of the best of 2016 and think it's vastly underrated. Honestly, anything featuring Annette Bening is bound to be good, but this film is one of her best. It's a beautiful and complicated film with beautiful and complicated female characters. It's an exploration of relationships, childhood, feminism, and punk rock.

4. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962)

As stated above, a movie does not have to have a strong female protagonist in order to pass the Bechdel Test or to even be considered "feminist." It is important, however, for the female characters to have their own narrative arcs and be depicted as complicated and imperfect. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? is a black and white thriller featuring two complicated women dealing with the loss of fame and youth.

5. Wild

This wildly underrated film features an intensely complicated, interesting, and relateable woman looking for adventure and purpose in her life. Reese Witherspoon shows true artistic integrity in her role as a confused yet determined woman who rediscovers herself after her mother's death.

6. Carol

Carol is an honest, beautiful, and moving film that features two women from very different backgrounds who fall in love. It focuses on the complicated lives, emotions, and feelings of two women whose sexual orientations are not accepted by 1950's society. Carol proves to be a rarity within its genre by focusing primarily on romantic relationship between the two women instead of the sexual.

7. The Meddler

When I first saw the trailer and advertisements for this movie, I thought it was going to be a goofy rom-com with no substance. It turns out that it is anything but. The film features Susan Sarandon as an obsessive and doting mother who meddles her way into people's lives in an effort to be closer with her daughter, while also dealing with grief, loss, and loneliness. It is a genuinely charming and substantial film that is a great flick to watch with your mom.

8. All About Eve

There are few cinematic icons as memorable and vicious as Margo Channing in All About Eve. Bette Davis had a way of embodying characters who were willful, complicated, confident, yet vulnerable. This film perfectly depicts the struggle of an aging actress in Hollywood and the inevitable power struggle that ensues.

9. The Bling Ring

Not surprisingly, all of Sophia Coppola's movies pass the Bechdel Test, but The Bling Ring does so with flying colors. The cast is made up almost entirely of women, and they each have their own complicated lives (while also being vapid, self-indulgent, and unremorseful). The real triumph in this movie is that the girls are allowed to be bad. You don't feel sympathetic toward them and you're not supposed to. They're depicted as real women, flaws and all.

10. Easy A

Back before Emma Stone was a two-time Academy Award-winning actress, she was in a charming and loveable film called Easy A. It's surprising just how many high school movies pass The Bechdel Test and have interesting female characters, but there are a lot of them! Clueless, The Craft, Heathers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Mean Girls, and The Breakfast Club all pass the Bechdel Test. However, Easy A is the best example of a "feminist" movie because, while also being a fun flick, it is also a commentary on the way women are condemned and judged for their sexuality.
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