Ever since it debuted at Sundance this year, Passing has been one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Based on the novel by Nella Larsen, Passing tells the story of two biracial women who reunite after a chance encounter. Irene (Tessa Thompson) lives semi-comfortably in Harlem as a Black woman, with her husband Brian (Andre Holland). Clare (Ruth Negga) "passes" for white, married to a wealthy racist named John (Alexander Skarsgard). But their rekindled friendship soon upends both their lives, as secrets are revealed, lies are exposed and desires boil over.
This marks the directorial debut of Rebecca Hall (Godzilla vs. Kong), whose mother - the American opera singer Maria Ewing - was biracial. This made adapting the story more personal. Her script was championed by the likes of Forest Whitaker and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Oren Moverman. Shot in stark black-and-white and in 4x3 ratio, the film looks completely different from everything else one might stumble upon on Netflix. Hopefully, it challenges viewers who only check out the Top 10.
Passing will have a limited theatrical release starting October 27, and stream exclusively on Netflix on November 10.