(Based on the Bechdel Test, which requires a movie to feature at least two women who talk to each other about something other than men.)
Short Term 12
I’m nominating this one because it was super subtle and unique. Starring a young woman figuring her life out while trying not to mess anyone else’s up, this movie was sad and funny, messy and simple.
Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine demonstrate the complexities and tensions of sisterhood, what it means to be family and how social standing can change everything, including the way we love each other. Blue Jasmine lets these two women just be; no matter how awful or naively trusting, this film doesn’t push for transformation, but rather it allows us to see how we deal with change, even if that means we don’t change.
I’m going with this one because I think it fits, if not stretches and challenges, the Bechdel test in ways I think are very important. The two characters I’m thinking of are Jennifer Garner’s doctor and Jared Leto’s transgender AIDS patient, and they spend a great deal of time talking about a very important topic: health care for HIV patients. This movie is a winner on so many levels. It is smart, moving, interesting, and the performances are mesmerizing and powerful.
Frozen is a daring film. It’s a Disney movie that takes a different approach to the traditional character arc. Following sisters Elsa and Anna, we’re led on an adventure driven by a different type of love: sisterly rather than romantic. This film goes well beyond passing the Bechdel test; it’s essentially about two strong female leads looking out for and defending each other. That’s not to say there isn’t a romantic element, but that too works out a little differently, suggesting that sometimes Prince Charming isn’t exactly what he seems. It’s a unique, female-empowering take on the “princess” story.
The Bling Ring
It was poppy and punchy and fun and totally ridiculous at times, but that just added to the entertainment of it. Taken at face value as a flick (and considering the fact that it was based on a true story), it was wholly entertaining and I would recommend it to anyone (and I totally have).
Every once in a while a movie comes along that completely addresses who you are, right now, and what you’re struggling with. Frances Ha was that movie for me and for all the women I know who saw it. The plot didn’t follow a New York twentysomething woman’s unremarkable, unrealistic search for the love of some dude who would likely ghost on her a few weeks later, but rather her search for the love of herself while her main source of love, her best friend, starts fading into her relationship. The format of the movie didn’t follow the “rules” either, with Greta Gerwig playing the title character both charmingly and frustratingly (hey, we all have our off moments) and director Noam Baumbach filming it all in black and white.