To All The Movies You Shouldn’t Love

A movie that has made quite a splash in the media recently is “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”. It has been a popular topic in conversations between my friends and I. However, I did not enjoy it. It was a “feel-good” movie as my roommate would say, but that shouldn’t be the only way you look at movies. As consumers and viewers there is definitely ways to be more mindful.

Something I consider before seeing a movie is figuring out whether or not the movie passes the Bechdel Test. I will say this that my views on this has now shifted drastically after not only being a part of this blog, but also just thinking of my own life. The Bechdel test merely claims a movie needs two named female characters to have a conversation not about men. THAT’S IT!? That is the only criteria.

I could blame this on the fact that the test was created in 1985, but it is 2018. Over 30 years ago this was made and it seems so trivial and easy with how much progress we have made in the world, yet so many movies today do not even pass it. Instead of addressing the countless movies that do not pass, I thought by showing you how easy it is to pass would show just how meaningless this test has become and why there should be more required for it.

In “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” there are two instances where the movie passes the Bechdel test….only TWO. In a movie where there is a female lead and a decent amount of other female characters I was shocked and had a hard time even finding these two instances. Those two conversations barely last 5 minutes. EVERY other conversation between women in the movie is centered around men.

Screen Shot 2018-09-26 at 5.34.57 PM
Bechdel Test of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before”

Now, to clarify I am not saying that a movie is not good just because it does not pass this test, but this just further justifies the issues that are continuous in the movie industry. The lack of female directors who are recognized, lack of intersectionality within pop culture cinema, wage gap between men and women in film, and the list goes on. Issues I unfortunately do not have time to go into depth about, but the media continuing to push this idea that women need men is far from being cast out of film.

The lead actress in this movie, Lara Jean is told by her father and best friend that they have never seen her so happy since she started dating a boy. Why is this still such a continuous theme in mainstream films?

It is not fair to put all the pressure on female directors to create and promote roles that do not fit specific stereotypes it needs to be a joint effort within the film industry. Heteronormative relationships are not the only type in our society and we need to bring more intersectionality into the media. It is about time we begin bringing others to the forefront AND continue to get rid of the idea that women NEED men. Please leave that back in the 1950s with our aprons.

10 thoughts on “To All The Movies You Shouldn’t Love

  1. So confession, I totally loved this movie but I never realized it was so flawed. Thanks so much for writing this 🙂 it is opening my eyes.

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    1. It is totally okay that you loved this movie! There are plenty of movies I love that definitely do not pass this test. It is not about hating them just about making people aware and starting up a conversation 🙂

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  2. I completely forgot about the bechdel test; great bringing it up! Not what I was expecting from this post; but, instead, even better! It’s sad that many movies barely pass this test; how simple it may be. It’s a small test for mysogyny that has sent more than enough movies hurling out the door as “failed”‘; all because the women actor’s are too focused on a male character. While this may be a problem, I think it would be interesting if we dove deeper into the other implications this movie has on society. Thanks for this!

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    1. I totally agree there was so much to go into and unfortunately too little writing space. I felt it necessary to address something that affects every movie and more importantly the film industry itself, rather than pick apart one singular movie. I 100% agree with you there is a lot to dissect from this movie alone!

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  3. I haven’t watched the movie yet, but I’m glad I read your post before I did! It’s also good to get different perspectives of a movie, and now going into watching it for the first time, I’ll be in the right mindset to make my opinion. Also this post reminded me that I need a refresh on the Bechdel test so thanks for that!

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    1. It is such an underrated test and when I first learned about it I thought it was so stupid. I definitely see things very differently now. Let me know what you think of the movie once you watch it!

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  4. Of the celebrated or mainstream movies produced, I could probably count on one hand how many pass the Bechdel test. Yet, I can’t think of any movies that would fail if the test was reversed. I think this lack of proper representation is because the majority of directors are male so their perceptions of what women, do, think, and talk about are warped by our patriarchal culture. Articles like this are important because how women are portrayed in the media often reflects how they are seen and treated in real life.

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    1. I agree that I can’t think of a movie that wouldn’t pass a reverse Bechdel test, that would be interesting to look into and see if there is even one out there! There is definitely underrepresentation when it comes to female directors, especially ones who are recognized by the academy and such. This movie was written and directed by women (based off the novel also written by a woman) which is another reason I chose it. I felt I was expecting more from it because of all that.

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  5. I agree that the Bechdel test is for a lack of a better term, pathetic. The fact that it only accounts for two female characters to have a conversation that is not about men, is disgraceful. I feel as though that as you said, the Bechdel test is extremely outdated. Not only that, the test dichotomizes gender when gender is a spectrum. Do you think the theme of having girls be so happy dating the popular boy is still in mainstream films because it sells? Since it grabs people’s attention? How do you suggest that we hold the film industry accountable if the industry is so vast? Are there any coalitions one can join to make a change in transgressing the film industry?

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  6. I think there are a lot of older people creating films for younger audiences guessing what we would like. I wonder if any movie or tv show that depicts a school and the interactions that happen would actually look like ANY school today. It is merely a “forbidden” romance and could be depicted in so many other ways that are more accurate and relatable. Reese Witherspoon is someone who I picture when I talk about challenging the film industry and the set norms surrounding it. She founded a production company called Pacific Standard that is supporting and pushing movies that have strong female leads. I think there are plenty of people who could do the same as well as support her company and add more to it than just female leads.

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