The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Good Lie

The Good Lie is inspired by the true events that took place in Sudan when the South and the North were at war, and child refugees had to walk as far as 1,000 miles to reach refuge. More specifically, The Good Lie focuses on the story of four Sudanese children whose villages are destroyed and who then have to walk over 700 miles in order to live.

Life is by no means easy for these children. Several of their friends and family members are lost on their track to salvation, and life does not get any easier for them once they move to the United States as they are eventually forced to confront their pasts.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

The Good Lie passes the Bechdel and race test but does not pass the Russo test.

The film passes the Bechdel and race test as there are several instances where named women talk to each other without mentioning men, and non-White characters talk to each other without mentioning White people. The film does not pass the Russo test because there are no LGBTI 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.

Advertisements