“Passing” Trailer Shows Only Shades of Grey

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.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.