The Best Romantic Comedies on Netflix that Pass the Bechdel Test
If you're gonna watch a rom com, make sure it at least passes this extremely low standard.
Screenshot via Netflix
It's Valentines Day and love is allegedly in the air. A bitter cold is also in the air, so chances are your plans tonight include Netflix and chilling, with or without a significant other.
Whether the chilling part involves sex, masturbating, or digging to the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry's (all three if you're lucky), you're going to want something worthwhile playing in the background. And since a movie can hardly be worthwhile if it doesn't include a single scene where two women speak to each other about literally anything besides a man, we've compiled a list of romantic comedies streaming on Netflix right now that pass the Bechdel Test.
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
This classic rom com of the aughts opens with a scene that passes the Bechdel Test. Journalist Andie Anderson (Kate Hudson) has just written a (likely problematic) article called "How to: Bring Peace To Tajikistan." Unfortunately for her, she works at a lifestyle magazine. "It's brilliant. It's really moving," says her co-worker, "but it's never gonna appear in Composure Magazine." The rest of the movie, however, is hard pressed for a scene that doesn't revolve around the romantic scheming of both Andie and her love interest Benjamin Barry (played by Matthew McConaughey).
Love Per Square Foot
Released today, this Netflix original movie follows Sanjay Chaturvedi (Vicky Kaushal) and Karina D’Souza (Angira Dhar) who are brought together by a housing ad in the newspaper as they search for a home in Mumbai. The movie also follows the relationship between Karina and her mother as tension between the two builds surrounding the topic of Karina's marriage. The pair reach a boiling point after Karina storms out of a dinner and tells her mom, "I don't want to become you." The scenes between Karina and her mother give Love Per Square Foot its passing grade.
The Incredible Jessica James
The Incredible Jessica James refreshingly avoids the plot of your average rom com. The movie starts at the end of a relationship between protagonist Jessica James (played by Jessica Williams) and her now ex Damon (Lakeith Stanfield). It follows Jessica as she navigates work, social media (including Tinder), and another guy post-break-up—all the while incorporating multiple conversations with other women and young girls about stuff other than men! Spoiler: The movie ends with Jessica choosing her friends over a man as she heads to London for new opportunities.
The Bridget Jones Series
What would a round-up of rom coms be without the Bridget Jones series? Luckily, all three films do pass the Bechdel Test. Unluckily, for the most part, the films only pass the test thanks to a couple of sentences had during small talk. Bridget Jones's Baby, however, passes with flying colors because of conversations between women about the logistics of pregnancy.
Jenny's Wedding is about a lesbian woman played by Katherine Heigl, whose engagement to her girlfriend Kitty (Alexis Bledel) and an inspirational conversation with her father encourages her to finally come out to her parents, who, as she guessed, aren't too pleased with the news. Between dealing with her mother—who asks her not to share her lesbian identity with their friends and family—and preparing for a wedding with her partner of five years, Jenny's Wedding aces the Bechdel Test.
13 Going on 30
The romance in 13 Going on 30 might take a backseat to the main plot, but marrying your childhood best friend who forgives you for treating him like shit while you were becoming a scheme-y magazine editor is pretty cute. The fact that the love story between Jenna and Matty isn't the main plot line in the film also helps 13 Going on 30 easily pass the Bechdel Test: Jenna has a lot of issues to talk through with other women who are 30, flirty, and thriving, before she realizes that Matty might just be her soulmate.
Kate Armstrong (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is the intimidating head chef at a trendy downtown restaurant. After her sister is killed in a car accident, Kate's nine-year-old niece moves in with her and her boss hires another chef at the restaurant for some extra help. Though Kate is initially annoyed by him, she soon finds herself falling for the new chef's charm, just like everyone else in the kitchen. No Reservations passes the Bechdel Test in numerous scenes, from Kate's complaints about customers who aren't pleased with her cooking to bumps in the road as she raises and grieves alongside her niece.
She's Gotta Have It (1986)
From Black women's representation to discussing the nuances of female sexuality, She's Gotta Have It was in many ways a groundbreaking film for women. The plot follows protagonist Nola Darling as she explores her sexuality and dates three men with no urge to commit to any of them. Nola has multiple conversations with other women about being with women intimately, among other things, meaning the film passes the Bechdel Test.
On the other hand, director Spike Lee chose to include an irresponsible rape scene in the film which later inspired bell hooks's essay "Whose Pussy Is This?" In 2014, Lee said the scene was the only regret of his career.
While You Were Sleeping
While You Were Sleeping stars Sandra Bullock—aka the queen of 90s and early 00s rom coms—as she pretends to be the fiancee of an unconscious man named Jack while he recovers from a bad fall. The movie passes the Bechdel Test because of conversations she has with Jack's family, who take a liking to her as they wait for their loved one to wake up. She eventually falls in love with Jack's godfather, Peter.
While the conversations that qualify While You Were Sleeping as a film that passes the Bechdel Test aren't incredibly substantial, one of the main male characters is unconscious for the majority of the movie and that counts for something, right?
A Cinderella Story
This rom com is particularly nostalgic for 90s babies who grew up watching Lizzie McGuire. It was the first time we saw Hillary Duff outside of Disney as a young woman and she did not disappoint! The movie also passes the Bechdel Test due to many miserable conversations between our main character Sam and her dreadful step mother, her twin sisters, and her boss—a saving grace when it comes to female characters in this movie.