Within most groups of tight-knit, female best friends – there’s no such thing as “too much information”. There isn’t a subject that’s too small, shocking, shallow, or subjective. From periods to parliamentary candidates – the fact is, it really is all up for discussion.
Which is why, as the Bechdel Test shows, the female friendships depicted in films often fail to reflect the reality of those in real life.
If you’ve not heard of it before, the Bechdel Test - created in 1985 by cartoonist Alison Bechdel – is a way of measuring gender-bias in movies. Basically, in order to pass the test, a film must include all of the following: A) Two female characters. B) Two female characters who talk to each other. C) Two female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. And it really is surprising how many fail.
Now of course, there is nothing wrong with talking to your best mate about a man. I happen to spend a fair portion of my time happily partaking in this activity. But likewise, I talk to my BFF about everything else under the sun, too. (She is actually the best, by the way).
So on the flip side, what about those films that don’t only pass the Bechdel Test, but pass it with flying colours? With this in mind, here’s a heartfelt rundown of my favourite female best friends in film.
Annie & Lillian
No other movie picks up on the nuances of modern-day, female friendship quite like ‘Bridesmaids’. From the inane brunch chat to the feelings of territorial jealously at someone new coming into the fold – it’s relatable in so many ways. Most notably, in the stomach-sinking scene where Annie discovers her best friend is soon to be married. “Congratulations”, she beams. But behind those happy tears… we can all hear the silent scream of “DON’T LEAVE ME”.
Jess & Jules
Despite their differing backgrounds, these two young ladies bond over a shared love of sport and showing men exactly how it’s done. ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ might seem slightly outdated in some aspects – Becks has had about a hundred different hairstyles since – but this film still shines dues to its celebration of female strength, solidarity, and superb sporting skill. It’s not all smooth sailing of course, but the girls’ even manage to overcome the ultimate obstacle, falling for the same (unsurprisingly) beautiful boy.
Cher, Dionne & Tai
It’s possibly the most nineties film ever, but somehow, Clueless never gets old. Alongside the jokes and pop culture references, it is the friendship between Cher, Dionne and new girl Tai which really comes to the forefront. When they’re not giving each other helpful advice (“Dee, when your allergies act up, take out your nose ring”), they’re insulting each other (“You’re a virgin who can’t drive”) – which seems like a pretty good balance to me.
C.C & Hillary
A classic (and epic) tale of childhood friendship standing the test of time; not only does ‘Beaches’ highlight the importance of having somebody outside of your own family to lean on throughout life, but it shows that you don’t have to be the same – or even remotely similar – to be friends. They’re like chalk and cheese, fire and ice, but Hilary is the wind beneath C.C’s wings, and vice versa. Pass the tissues.
Thelma & Louise
The original partners in crime, ‘Thelma & Louise’ might be best-known for its heart stopping ending, but this film is memorable for far more than just that. The phrase ‘strong and independent woman’ has become somewhat of a cliché in recent times, (“All the mommas who profit dollas” etc.) but its two main characters – played by Sarandon and Davis, aged 45 and 35 at the time – are in fact just that. What’s more, they are highly flawed and complex to boot. With serious issues like sexual assault, domestic violence, and women’s rights at play – it’s more than just a ‘buddy’ movie, but ultimately, it is their friendship which remains at the true heart of the story.