The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler passed the Bechdel test but failed to pass the Russo and race test.

Women almost never talked to each other in Nightcrawler, but because there was one instance where named women talked to each other without mentioning men, the movie (just barely) passed the Bechdel test. For example, there was an instance where Nina talked with a woman from the news team (who I believe had a name) about the legality of using a certain video. And while it’s true that they had talked and mentioned a man earlier, by the time Nina and this other woman started talking again several other people had been talking so I’m counting their video conversation as disparate from the first conversation. Nightcrawler thus passed the Bechdel test.

As to the Russo and race test, there were no LGBTI characters, and non-White characters never spoke to each other so Nightcrawler failed to pass the Russo and race test.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.

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