The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Sully

Based on true events, Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood, reveals the aftermath that Captain Sully faced after he safely and miraculously landed the US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Sully passes the Bechdel but it does not pass the Russo or race test.

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US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese.

There are only a handful of women (few of whom have names) in Sully which is primarily composed of White, middle-aged men. Nonetheless, Sully passes the Bechdel test. Why? Because there is a single instance in Sully where women talk to each other, and in this instance, the women who talk to each other have names and they do not mention men in their conversation. As to other diversity tests like the Russo and race test, Sully does not pass either of these.

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US Airways Flight 1549 makes a forced water landing in the Hudson.

There are no identifiably LGBTI characters in Sully. Because of this, it is impossible for Sully to meet any of the other two requirements for the Russo test so the film thus fails to pass this particular diversity tests.

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After safely landing the Us Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson, Sully is inundated by reporters. 

In regards to the race test, Sully does not pass this diversity test because while there are a few non-White individuals in Sully (most of whom are extras), only one non-White individual (a Black man) ever speaks.

*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.