Tessa Thompson is "Renie" - married to successful doctor "Brian" (André Holland), who heads for some tea after a long day and encounters childhood friend "Clare" (Ruth Negga). She doesn't immediately recognise her because she has little colour in her skin... Indeed, as the story pans out even her husband, the pretty openly bigoted "John" (Alexander Skarsgård) has no idea that his wife is negro. "Clare" is pretty lonesome, and soon finds solace and popularity amongst her friend's friends who find her charming and vivacious - traits "Renie" possesses in scan quantity. What now ensues is a gentle observational look as how the relationship between the women, and the former's husband, children - even her maid, develop. The film is very easy to watch, to look at - the style of cinematography, the costumes and the lighting all lend themselves well to the imagery. The story itself is less impressive. Aside from quite a few plausibility issues, Thompson just seems to try too hard. There is little natural about her performance, and though perhaps, by contrast, because Negga is very much on top of her character, that does take much from the potency of this theoretically challenging, cleverly scored story. The ending, well - least said, I think though. It is almost as if Rebecca Hall just ran out of paper, rather than story.
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"Passing" follows the unexpected reunion of two high school friends, whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.
November 12, 2021