The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Commitment

Full of all kinds of cheesiness, clichés and tropes, Commitment (starring Choi Seung-Hyun AKA T.O.P.) is about a young man who must work as a spy for North Korea in order to secure his and his sister’s safety.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Commitment passes the Bechdel and race test but does not pass the Russo test.

 The representation of women in Commitment is abysmal. There are only five women in the entire film, and they mostly only lurk in the background or play a damsel-in-distress. On top of that, only two of the five women have names (and the two women who have names have the same name) and women only talk to each other three times. However, despite how poorly women are portrayed in Commitment, there is a single instance where named women talk to each other without mentioning men (e.g., when the two Hye-In’s first meet each other they confirm each other’s identities) so the film passes the Bechdel test. Commitment also passes the race test, and the film easily passes this test because the entire cast is Asian and White people are never mentioned by any of the characters.

In regards to the Russo test, Commitment does not pass this test, and the film doesn’t pass this test because there are no LGBTI characters in the film.

*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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