The holidays are here and so is Netflix's yearly round-up of Christmas movies, this year called "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Netflix." The films on the list are about as cheesy as the title Netflix gave the genre, though there are some gems like Love Actually and Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas. Sadly, Christmas movies are notorious for not passing the Bechdel Test and these two are no exception.
What's the Bechdel Test, you ask? In 1985, cartoonist Alison Bechdel published a strip titled "The Rule" (see below) for 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 just 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 or not a film is feminist, but if we're watching movies that can't be bothered to include two women talking about literally anything other than men, we're letting filmmakers get away with a pretty big disservice to their audiences.
Luckily, we've rounded up a list of holiday movies on Netflix that pass the Bechdel Test, in all their predictable, Hallmark-like glory.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch is a grumpy creature who hates Christmas, and lives alone in a mountain above the town of Whoville. Cindy Lou Who, a little girl who lives in Whoville, is determined to include the Grinch in the town's Christmas celebration, and in doing so, remind everyone that Christmas is about so much more than decorations and gifts. How the Grinch Stole Christmas only passes the Bechdel Test because of one scene between Betty Lou Who and Martha May Whovier discussing Christmas decorations, but as a classic and the best Christmas movie on Netflix, this list wouldn't be complete without it.
The Holiday Calendar
The Holiday Calendar is a new Netflix original movie that stars Kat Graham as Abby Sutton, a struggling photographer who is gifted a magical Advent calendar that she quickly realizes is predicting her future. Stuck in a dead-end job, Abby is waiting for the opportunity to fill her photography dreams, which her mom and dad don't exactly support, when things start to look up in her professional and personal life. The romantic comedy passes the Bechdel Test due to conversations between Abby, her mother, and her sister.
In White Christmas, two World War II veterans-turned-Broadway-performers join a sister act at an inn in rural Vermont in hopes to resuscitate the failing business during a winter of no snowfall. The 1954 musical romantic comedy starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen surprisingly passes the Bechdel Test on more than one occasion.
The Princess Switch
Some say that Netflix's new original movie The Princess Switch seems like it was created by a Netflix algorithm. And with a plot line that borrows from The Parent Trap, Iron Chef, The Princess Diaries, and more—they might be right, but it's still worth the watch. Stacy DeNovo, a young baker, and Lady Margaret Delacourt, the Duchess of Montenaro—both played by Vanessa Hudgens—meet by chance and decide to switch lives for a bit. Spoiler: they each end up falling in love with men from one another's lives. The Princess Switch is a Netflix rom-com that's perfect if you're looking for a holiday feel-good movie that's predictable in a good way.
All American Christmas Carol
A modern take on the classic A Christmas Carol, All American Christmas Carol follows a neglectful mom named Cindy, played by Orange Is the New Black's Taryn Manning, as she is visited by three ghosts hoping to show her a path to a better future. Conversations between Cindy, women spirits, a Child Protective Services agent, her sister-in-law, and more make All American Christmas Carol pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors.
A Christmas Prince 1 and 2
In this Netflix original, Amber (Rose McIver) is a journalist who gets sent to the country of Aldovia to cover a press conference with their crown prince, Prince Richard. Once there, she is mistaken for the princess' tutor and takes advantage of the opportunity by going undercover to learn more about the royal family. Not-so-spoiler spoiler, she ends up falling in love with the prince. Conversations between Amber, her boss, her coworker, and other women characters, mean A Christmas Prince passes the Bechdel Test. If you enjoy this film, check out its sequel A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, also on Netflix.
Christmas Ranch passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors, which is great because it doesn't exactly score high elsewhere. With a 25 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this film isn't a crowd favorite, but it is notable as a cheesy Christmas movie that does not end with two white people making out in the snow. Instead, Christmas Ranch follows a rebellious girl named Lizzie as she fights to save her grandmother's ranch from foreclosure.