Ratings System

This page describes my ratings system. Please bear in mind that all ratings are entirely subjective based on my personal experience.

Ratings look like this, and are explained further below:

  • Princess Power: 5 Stars
  • Overall: 4 Stars
  • Bechdel Test: Fail

Star Ratings

I rate movies by Princess Power, an assessment of the female protagonists. Ratings range from 5 stars (strong, well-developed, Self-Rescuing Princesses) to 1 star (flimsy damsels in distress). Note that "strong" means more than physical strength and kicking butt; it means someone who has agency, relevance to the story, and depth.

There is a separate measure for Overall Quality, because all the strong characters in the world can be wasted in a crappy story. And besides—it's not all about the women.

Note that I consider 3+ stars to be a positive rating. You will not find many 1-2 star reviews here; this blog is about highlighting good portrayals, not ranting about bad ones. There are rare exceptions when I feel there's something important to say.

You can find a list of all 5-star princess power reviews in the five star tag.

Bechdel Test

The Bechdel Test is one way to measure the presence of female characters in media. It is not the be-all-end-all. A movie can fail the test and still present strong, well-rounded female characters (and vice-versa).

For this blog, the Bechdel Test criteria are:

  1. The movie has to have at least two women protagonists (barely-there supporting roles don't count),
  2. who talk to each other meaningfully (saying 'hi' doesn't count),
  3. about something besides a man.

Family Content

In newer reviews about family-oriented media, I also include Family Content advisories about violence, language, and other mature content. These are neither quantified nor exhaustive; they're just my observations as a parent.

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