Happy March! You survived February, the last full month of winter, and that is no small feat. If you're here, you, like me, probably did so with the help of a tea kettle, a giant hoodie, and a couple streaming services. But alas, we've got three more weeks of winter, so why stop now? For your streaming pleasure, below is a list of seven movies new to Netflix this March that pass the Bechdel Test.
If you're unfamiliar with the Bechdel Test: In 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel published a strip titled "The Rule" (see below) in her comic Dykes To Watch Out For, in which one woman explains to another that she'll only watch a film if it meets three requirements:
- It has to have at least two women in it.
- They have to speak to each other.
- The topic of the conversation has to be about anything other than men.
And like that, the Bechdel test was born. Bechdel later said that the idea came from her friend, Liz Wallace. As such, the test is often referred to as the "Bechdel–Wallace Test."
Of course, the test is somewhat arbitrary and by no means a way to designate whether a film is feminist, but if we're watching movies that can't be bothered to include two women talking about literally anything but men, we're letting filmmakers get away with a pretty big disservice to their audiences.
1. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
When heartbroken high school student Nick O'Leary (Michael Cera) meets a cool girl named Norah (Kat Dennings) at his band's show, she asks him if he'll pretend to be her boyfriend for five minutes in order to show off to her friend (who happens to be Nick's ex, Tris). After Norah kisses him to prove that they're together, the two stay up all night chasing down a lost drunk friend and telling their former lovers to, more or less, fuck off.
2. The Notebook
This 2004 classic, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same title, passes the Bechdel Test, but not with flying colors. The Notebook follows an old man named Duke as he tells his wife Allie, who now has Alzheimer's, the story of how they fell in love. The majority of the film is spent on flashbacks to younger versions of the couple played by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, whose performances ultimately led to the best on-screen kiss of all time.
3. Winter's Bone
Winter's Bone follows Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly, the eldest of three siblings, whom she looks after along with their mentally ill mother, living in rural Missouri. Their father, who is out on bail after he was caught making meth, hasn't returned home, and neither Ree nor the rest of her family know his whereabouts. One day, the family gets a visit from the sheriff who lets them know that if their father doesn't make his coming court date, the government will confiscate their home as part of his bond. With no money to fall back on, Ree sets off to find her father.
4. Wet Hot American Summer
Wet Hot American Summer takes place in 1981 on the last day of summer camp at Camp Firewood where sexual tensions are running high between counselors as they get ready to say goodbye to one another. The satirical comedy features a star-studded cast including Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, and Molly Shannon—and passes the Bechdel Test.
5. Blue Jasmine
Cate Blanchett stars in Blue Jasmine in which she plays Jasmine, a socialite who lost her fortune after her wealthy husband was arrested for fraud. Soon after her husband (Alec Baldwin) takes his life in prison, Jasmine moves in with her sister in San Francisco and begins speaking out loud to herself in public and abusing anti-anxiety medication and alcohol. The film passes the Bechdel Test due to many conversations between Jasmine and her sister Ginger, but is also directed by Woody Allen and features Louis CK, both whom have been accused of sexual misconduct.
6. Doubt (Available March 7)
Starring Meryl Streep as Sister Aloysius Beauvier, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Father Brendan Flynn, and Amy Adams as Sister James, Doubt follows two Sisters who have growing suspicions that Father Brendan Flynn is abusing a young boy within their Roman Catholic elementary school. The two Sisters try everything from confronting Father Brendan Flynn himself to meeting with the young boy in question's mother to try to stop the things they think—but cannot varify—are happening.
7. A Separation (Available March 15)
A Separation follows a woman named Simin who decides to take her husband Nadir to divorce court after he refuses to leave the country with Simin and her daughter, in part because he must stay to look after his elderly father. When Nadir hires a woman named Razieh to help look after his dad, the two soon get into a fight after Nadir accuses her of neglectful care. The fight ends when Nadir pushes the woman, causing her to miscarry. Razieh and her husband later sue Nadir for causing the miscarriage, meaning he could be sentenced for "murder" under Iranian law.