An adaptation of the 1929 novel of the same name by author Nella Larsen, the film is set during the Harlem Renaissance in late 1920s New York and follows two Black women, Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga). Once high school friends, the two reunite by chance years later to find that they are both now living in carefully constructed lives, hiding who they really are. Clare, for example, has chosen to pass as white and is married to a prejudice white man (Alexander Skarsgård). As the lives of the two women become further intertwined, it becomes clear that things are headed for shaky ground.
Very strong early reviews for this one, with praise going to the performances and Hall’s navigation of complex and potentially triggering topics. As you can see below, the film also looks gorgeous, with sumptuous black and white cinematography (Hall worked with Spanish cinematographer Eduard Grau, whose credits include A Single Man, Buried and The Way Back). Monochrome visuals are certainly making a comeback of sorts; upcoming films The Tragedy of Macbeth, C’mon C’mon, and Belfast among those employing the palette.
Passing, also starring André Holland and Bill Camp, will have a limited theatrical run in the US from October 27th before hitting Netflix on November 10th.