Thank you for saying all of this! I watched crash over 10 years ago, in my early-20s, and I couldn’t understand why it made me so upset and uncomfortable. I remember feeling like something was really not right with this movie—like it wasn’t the instructive, hopeful story of unity that it was being touted as. But I didn’t have the education or the vocabulary back then to articulate precisely why it unsettled me so much.
Since then, I forgot basically every detail of the film except for one: for some reason, the only thing I remembered clearly (between 2006 and now) is that the Persian character in Crash tries to murder someone. It had left a huge impression on me because I was stunned and appalled that, in a time of particularly heightened Islamophobia, a film that claimed to be anti-racist had chosen to portray its presumably Muslim character as a homicidal hothead. A terrible artistic choice.
You’ve lain bare the fuller scope of all the problems with this film. I wish more people would look at it with such critical eyes. Hopefully films of the future will do much, much better. Thanks again!