The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Life After Beth

Zach’s girlfriend Beth has just died in Life After Beth. He is inconsolable and constantly visits Beth’s family as they seem to be the only ones who understand him. However, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, Beth’s family starts to avoid Zach. Zach can’t understand why they are avoiding him, and when he tries to confront them about it, he spots Beth inside their home. From there, everything spirals out of control.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Life After Beth passes the Bechdel test but does not pass the Russo or race test.

Life After Beth passes the Bechdel test as named women do talk to each other a couple of times without mentioning men, but the film does not pass the Russo or race test as there are no LGBTI or non-White characters.

*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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