- YEAR: 2001
- Director: Baz Luhrmann
- KEY ACTORS: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor
- CERTIFICATE: 12
- IMDB SCORE: 7.6
- ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 76%
SEX SCORE: 4/5
✔️ It does pass the Bechdel test…but only just! Satine has a conversation with Marie, her dresser, about being a star. That’s it.
✔️ And, oh my gosh, I want to fuck the cast! It’s difficult to argue whether this is either of McGregor or Kidman’s peak hotness because they have just had so many peaks but, damn, they are beautiful in this movie…
✔️ It’s also incredibly rewatchable. If I come across it on TV, I will always watch it, no matter where in the movie we are.
✔️ And Moulin Rouge did inspire fantasies. Not of sex work but of being that beautiful, that glamorous, that sexually confident…
❌ But it is not sex positive! It’s not sex worker positive, it’s not feminist, and it values virginity much too highly!
As always, this contains spoilers so watch the film before you read on…
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- YEAR: 2004
- DIRECTOR: Mike Nichols
- KEY ACTORS: Natalie Portman, Clive Owen, Jude Law, Julia Roberts
- CERTIFICATE: 15
- IMDB SCORE: 7.2
- ROTTEN TOMATO SCORE: 68%
SEX SCORE: 4/5
✔️ Yes. The cast are fuckable. All of them. Every single character. They’re awful but I would fuck them all without hesitation!
✔️And it definitely inspired fantasies – fantasies of love at first sight, fantasies of being wanted so intensely and destructively
✔️ Closer passes the Bechdel Test when Alice and Anna talk about photography at the beginning of the film.
✔️ I also think it’s rewatchable. It’s a stunning, enthralling and breathtaking film!
❌ But is it sex positive? Sadly, I can’t give Closer the mark. Sex is used as a weapon too many times…
DIRECTOR: Andy Tennant
KEY ACTORS: Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James, Amber Valletta
IMDB SCORE: 6.6
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 68%
SEX SCORE: 3/5
✔️ This is rewatchable. It shouldn’t be. It should have aged very badly and be too annoying to watch now…but it’s still pretty enjoyable!
✔️ I’d definitely fuck the cast! Will Smith may not be at his Independence Day era peak but he’s still looking great and Eva Mendes is stunning. STUNNING!
✔️ And it did inspire fantasies but they’re ones that make me a bit sad now – I would simply fantasise about someone liking me enough to make that much effort like the men in the film. Oh dear…
❌ But it definitely fails the Bechdel Test. I don’t think there are any conversations at all in the film that aren’t about dating!
❌ And I can’t give it a mark for being sex positive. It may be relationship positive and encouraging of sex within a relationship, but casual sex is less acceptable. It’s something desperate woman and sleazy men do, not something good people do. Yeah, not great…
DIRECTOR: Nancy Meyers
KEY ACTORS: Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jack Black, Eli Wallach
IMDB SCORE: 6.9
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 49%
SEX SCORE: 3/5
✔️So the cast are definitely fuckable. I’m not a Jude Law fan as such but, wow, this is extraordinary levels of hotness and Kate Winslet is never better than playing an English Rose
❌ But this film didn’t inspire fantasies. In fact, completely the reverse. I actively didn’t want either of their lives!
❌ This may just be my opinion, but I also don’t think this film is rewatchable. I hate Love Actually and I watch it all the time. I have only seen this twice and that’s too many times!
✔️It does pass the Bechdel test, although I am pretty annoyed that this is another pass because of conversations with children. Adult women can talk too!!
✔️ But I do think it is sex positive. It’s full of romantic cliches but the sexual ones are pretty well handled.
DIRECTOR: Richard Curtis
KEY ACTORS: Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney
IMDB SCORE: 7.6
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 64%
SEX SCORE: 3/5
✔️ I’m begrudgingly giving it a mark for being rewatchable as I do watch it every year, despite it being a definite hate watch now!
✔️ But this isn’t nearly as begrudgingly I’m giving it a mark for passing the Bechdel Test. In a movie all full of women, the only conversation between named female characters that wasn’t about a man occurred between Emma Thompson and her daughter about being a lobster in the nativity. Wow…
✔️ It’s difficult to decide but I think it is a sex positive film. It’s unfeminist and it’s problematic but it doesn’t really shame its characters particularly for having sex. I don’t think…
❌ I don’t want to fuck the cast, despite how hot many of them were at this time. I just don’t like them enough to fuck them!
❌ And it didn’t inspire any fantasies. Even the romantic fantasies are looking pretty problematic now!
DIRECTOR: Sharon Maguire
KEY ACTORS: Rene Zellweger, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant
IMDB SCORE: 6.7
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 81%
SEX SCORE: 5/5
✔️The cast are definitely fuckable. Colin Firth and Hugh Grant, Rene Zellweger and Sally Phillips; there’s someone for every mood!
✔️ And although the qualifying dialogue has been described as meaningless, which feels unnecessarily cutting, there are plenty of named female characters who talk about other subjects than men so it passes the Bechdel Test.
✔️ It also definitely inspired fantasies – even though she’s supposed to be a mess, Bridget was pretty aspirational for me sexually. It may reveal the limitations of my own sexual fantasies, but I really wanted dirty weekends away in a B+B, I wanted to send secret messages to a coworker that I was fucking, and I wanted to do all of that while I still didn’t think I was perfect. And I really, really wanted a kiss like that between Bridget and Darcy.
✔️ It is also incredibly rewatchable. I cannot recall how often I’ve seen this film but it still makes me laugh every time and still makes me so happy, every time!
✔️ After much deliberation, I also decided that it is sex positive – more on this later!
DIRECTOR: Joe Wright
KEY ACTORS: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen
IMDB SCORE: 7.8
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 86%
SEX SCORE: 5/5
✔️ I love this film and definitely think it’s rewatchable!
✔️ I also definitely want to fuck the cast. Keira Knightley is beautiful as always and Matthew Macfadyen is seriously fuckable in this movie!
✔️ I’m going to give it a mark for sex positivity. Sex isn’t mentioned explicitly but enthusiastic consent for marriage and making good relationship decisions is certainly a big topic, as is disrespectful treatment of women, so I’m happy to say it’s sex positive!
✔️ And it passes the Bechdel Test! I mean, the named women talk about balls and ribbons and dancing, rather than directly talking about men, but it’s still a pass!
✔️ And, drum roll, I’m going to give it a mark for inspiring fantasies as Darcy is a fantasy man for so many people, including me. 5/5!!
DIRECTOR: Karyn Kusama
KEY ACTORS: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried
IMDB SCORE: 5.2
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 44%
SEX SCORE: 4/5
✔️ Are the cast fuckable? It’s Megan Fox as a hot cheerleader. Of course, the cast is fuckable! She’s deliberately sexy but it works!
✔️ And it passes the Bechdel Test – Needy and Jennifer talk about a demonic ritual if nothing else!
✔️ I’ve only watched it once but I really enjoyed it and would watch it again so, yes, rewatchable!
❌ But it didn’t inspire fantasies. The sex is, well, inexperienced and I have no desire to literally eat men…
✔️ It is sex positive, however. Both main characters have sex – the hot one and the nerdy one – and nothing bad happens to them because they’ve had sex! It also showed realistic first/early sexual experiences with obvious condom use that wasn’t really played for laughs, beyond the simple intrinsic hilarity of comfortable, consenting sex!
DIRECTOR: Ol Parker
KEY ACTORS: Piper Perabo, Lena Headey, Matthew Goode, Celia Imrie, Anthony Head
IMDB SCORE: 6.8
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: 34%
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SEX SCORE: 4.5/5
✔️ Passes the Bechdel Test with flying colours. Main characters Rachel and Luce are shown talking about a wide range of topics from flowers to football.
✔️ Fuckable cast – Lena Headey (yes, as in Cersei Lannister) as a dorky lesbian florist? Sign me the fuck up. Piper Perabo is also super hot. The men don’t really do anything for me; Matthew Goode’s Heck is cute enough but not my type, and Darren Boyd’s Cooper is way too obnoxious to be hot.
❓Fantasies inspired – Half a point here. No specific sexual fantasies from this one (there’s hardly any actual sex in it!) but definitely plenty of romantic fantasies. This movie was the first piece of media which gave me hope that queer women, too, could have cinema-worthy mushy happy endings.
✔️ Rewatchable – Endlessly. I’ve probably seen this film at least a dozen times by now, and it’s a frequent cheer-me-up choice when I’m sad or sick.
✔️ Sex positive – This was difficult to decide. I’m torn primarily because there’s a major theme about cheating, which is hard to classify as sex-positive. However, it’s also a story about following your heart when your sexuality turns out to not be quite what you thought, and it’s unashamedly queer-positive (despite coming out only two years after the end of Section 28.) So, yes, it gets the point.
YEAR: Sunrise 1995, Sunset 2004, Midnight 2013
DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater
KEY ACTORS: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
IMDB SCORE: Sunrise 8.1, Sunset 8.0, Midnight 7.9
ROTTEN TOMATOES SCORE: Sunrise 100%, Sunset 95%, Midnight 97%
SEX SCORE: 4.5/5
✔️ Definitely rewatchable – and I’d recommend watching the full trilogy in one sitting if you can.
✔️ The cast are definitely fuckable. Julie Delpy is all sorts of fantastic and although there is something, well, weaselly about Ethan Hawke, the chemistry between them is so hot that I still want him despite his somewhat wiry facial hair!
✔️ And these movies did inspire lots of fantasies – meeting a hot stranger on a train, fucking in a park, missing a plane home because I needed to fuck someone right there and then…
✔️ On balance, I think these movies are sex positive. This is mainly as there isn’t much sex negativity so it gets a mark by default!
❓ Only Before Midnight passes…but it’s the only one with more than two named characters after all. The films are so focused on those two characters that this test feels, well, irrelevant.