The Girl on the Train (2016Th)
Plot: A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life. (IMDB)
Box Office: $47.9 million (and counting)
1. Are there two or more named People of Color? No
2. Do they talk to each other? No
3. About something other than White people? No
4. Asian Bonus: Is there an Asian character? No
Commentary: The biggest racial problem of the film is the racial ambiguity of the therapist. In the book, by Paula Hawkins, Dr. Kamal Abdic is thought to be Bosnian or Serbian. The character, portrayed by Edgar Ramirez, first comes across as Caucasian- you cannot pinpoint his background immediately and then later speaks Spanish. If they were going to recast this guy’s race they should have altered his name.
“Édgar Ramírez (Dr. Kamal Abdic)
The goal: Mysterious therapist
The result: Here’s a supremely non-specific, and vaguely xenophobic, description of Dr. Abdic from the Girl on the Train book: “He’s not Asian, he’s from Serbia, or Bosnia, somewhere like that. He’s dark-skinned though. He could pass for Indian from a distance.” The film’s attempt isn’t much better: Ramírez, who was born in Venezuela, plays Abdic (which is a Bosnian last name) with his own accent. In one scene, he also speaks a few lines in Spanish. When confronted by Blunt’s character about his accent, Abdic merely says that he’s an American citizen.
Our advice: Edgar, you’re doing just fine. But to the producers: Maybe write a character who’s defined by something more specific than being vaguely ethnic.”
Blogger: Ruchi Fruitwala