The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Frank

Frank is a film about a man named Jon, an aspiring songwriter that works as an average office worker.

One day, by a stroke of luck, Jon witnesses a band’s keyboardist trying to drown himself, and Jon ends up getting recruited by the band as their new keyboardist. From this point forward, the audience sees the band as Jon does – offbeat, erratic and with their own dose of problems. However, as the story goes on, the audience learns that the band’s erratic behavior is not as detrimental as it may seem, but rather, that it works for them whereas Jon’s behavior does not.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Frank does not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test. The film does not pass any of the diversity tests as women never talk to each other, there are no LGBTI characters and there are no 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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