The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Hello, My Name Is Doris

A touching and funny film, Hello, My Name Is Doris is all about a quirky woman (Sally Field) who falls in love with a younger man (Max Greenfield) and who finally begins to live her own life through her attempts to woo him.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Hello, My Name Is Doris passes the Bechdel test but it does not pass the Russo or race test.

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Doris goes to a concert with John, the man that she is interested in.

A large portion of Hello, My Name Is Doris’ cast is female, and as such, there are many instances where women talk to each other. Out of the many women that are in the film, several have names and because there are several instances where named women talk to each other without mentioning men, Hello, My Name Is Doris passes the Bechdel test.

As to the Russo test, there are LGBTI characters in Hello, My Name Is Doris, and while some of these characters are not solely defined by their sexual orientation, none of their removals from Hello, My Name Is Doris would significantly affect the film’s plot (e.g., their removal from the plot wouldn’t significantly affect the plot because they don’t have anything to do with Hello, My Name Is Doris’s plot) so the film does not pass the Russo test.  

Hello, My Name Is Doris also fails to pass the race test, and the film does not pass this test because while there are a couple of non-White individuals in the film, there is never an instance where two or more non-White individuals talk to each other.

*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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