The image above is from the modern emulsion of Kodak Portra 400. As you can see, it renders the shadows and the highlights pretty darn well. But it took a long time for film to get to this point.
Film, though still in use with some photographers today, wasn’t always so forgiving. The world originally worked with sepia and then black and white. When color film was developed, it didn’t have such a strong dynamic range according to an educational video recently produced by Vox. So in fact, the details in the faces of people of color (black, brown, etc.) were often very muddled. Indeed, Vox says (quite literally) in their video that it was originally developed for white people–and this problem happened between the 1940s and 1990s.