The trailer for the upcoming family movie Christopher Robin (2018) is the latest in a long string of new trailers in which women's presence is negligible. This is somewhat surprising considering how vocal women have been in the last year about being silenced. On the other hand it is a Disney movie, and Disney does not have a great track record for women's presence. In the trailer I watched yesterday no two women (or girls) are shown speaking. They talk to the male lead, Ewan McGregor, as well as several other male characters, but not to each other. One girl and one woman (the lead male's wife and daughter) will undoubtedly play a part in this movie but I wonder if their roles will be merely supportive, as they often are. I wonder if Christopher Robin will pass the Bechdel Test (a test that serves as an indicator of the active presence of women in movies). To pass it will need to show two female characters, preferably named, speaking to each other about something other than a male. This may seem like a very easy test to pass, the bar being so low, but it is astounding how many mainstream movies still fail. As I have written in a previous post (Oct. 4, 2017) this is the case for The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Kong: Skull Island (2017), Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014), Fast & Furious (2009), Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (2008) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), to name just a handful of movies that have failed this test.
Christopher Robin (2018) looks like it will prove entertaining and magical. However, based on the trailer I am not convinced women and girls will occupy the place they deserve—in any story. We make up half the human race. Why shouldn't we take up half the space? Every movie should pass the Bechdel Test with flying colours. And if it does not strike you as odd that no two women ever speak in a two-hour movie ask yourself this: how many movies can you name in which no two men ever speak?
© 2018 Alline Cormier