Netflix | Release Date: October 27, 2021
6.6
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 70 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
44
Mixed:
18
Negative:
8
Watch Now
Stream On
Review this movie
VOTE NOW
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Check box if your review contains spoilers 0 characters (5000 max)
6
MattyIce34Nov 11, 2021
It’s well acted and has an interesting topic, but the themes are never fully explored. Still a good debut from Hall.
3 of 3 users found this helpful30
All this user's reviews
6
bertobellamyNov 13, 2021
The acting is good, especially that of Ruth Negga, but there's little exploration of her character's conflict, and that's because the plot is mainly focused on the other one, played by Tessa Thompson. I wish we could've seen more of what wasThe acting is good, especially that of Ruth Negga, but there's little exploration of her character's conflict, and that's because the plot is mainly focused on the other one, played by Tessa Thompson. I wish we could've seen more of what was going on with the personal hell of hiding yourself. Also, I have some reservations about the ending, which seemed to me a little overdramatic. Nevertheless, this is a good debut for Rebecca Hall as a director, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her in this new role. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
6
HerickDienerNov 15, 2021
O ditado popular "nem tudo que reluz é ouro" se encaixa perfeitamente nesse filme. Tecnicamente lindo, mas sem muito a dizer. Nem a ótima atuação de Ruth Negga salva o gosto amargo que diálogos desconexos e cortes de tempo desajeitados deixamO ditado popular "nem tudo que reluz é ouro" se encaixa perfeitamente nesse filme. Tecnicamente lindo, mas sem muito a dizer. Nem a ótima atuação de Ruth Negga salva o gosto amargo que diálogos desconexos e cortes de tempo desajeitados deixam como uma experiência final, apesar do interessante e espinhoso tema abordado. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
6
livinmediocreNov 17, 2021
I think one of the most interesting parts of this film is how Irene is constantly avoiding direct eye contact, in a sort of fear of those in public seeing her true skin color. As Hugh says, she could pass if she wants to. And she replies,I think one of the most interesting parts of this film is how Irene is constantly avoiding direct eye contact, in a sort of fear of those in public seeing her true skin color. As Hugh says, she could pass if she wants to. And she replies, maybe I do.

Other than the obviously beautiful black and white cinematography, which is absolutely necessary for a story of this nature, the sound is incredible. Every sound is intentional and can sometimes be deafening.I mention how the black and white cinematography is necessary because that’s how people are viewing the world in that time. Are people black, or white? And it lends a hand with the lighting to alter the complexion of the actors.

And not just the cinematography but the performances (Tessa, Ruth, Andre, Alexander) are incredible. All of the technical aspects really. Cinematography, sound design, the score, production design, costuming, etc. It all comes together and shines through the screen!

And another thing is how much Irene likes to ignore the terrible things that happen in the world. With the collapsing of a man on the sidewalks of New York, the only thing she wants to do is get far far away. And later the talk of the lynching of the man from Little Rock. Because she can pass, it’s a bit easy for her character to ignore tragedy and issues of race. But for her darker skinned family, it is everything to them. As Andre Holland’s character says, they (white folks) hate us (black folks).

I’m unfamiliar with the source material, and as a white man, I can not relate. But the actors, the scripting, the directing, all lend a hand to make you feel what they do. I liked this quite a bit. Make your way to see this!
Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
8
paltareinaNov 12, 2021
Give Ruth Negga all the awards, cause god damn, what a good performance. Also, the black and white cinematography is such an important aspect in this film.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
All this user's reviews
10
QmechanNov 1, 2021
An excellent look into an often-ignored aspect of racism, the colorism that exists on both sides, and what some people needed to do to survive.
4 of 5 users found this helpful41
All this user's reviews
7
QhasiNov 12, 2021
The tone of the movie leaves you terrified for the characters throughout the film. But the film does fall short of fully exploring the themes it proposes. Mainly the characters' motivations are not explored.

It's a fairly cold retelling.
The tone of the movie leaves you terrified for the characters throughout the film. But the film does fall short of fully exploring the themes it proposes. Mainly the characters' motivations are not explored.

It's a fairly cold retelling. Great performances though.
Expand
3 of 4 users found this helpful31
All this user's reviews
9
IndiefilmloverNov 3, 2021
In an age of superheroes, reboots, and formulas, it's refreshing to see a film that assumes the audence has some intelligence. "Passing," actor Rebecca Hall's feature directing debut is one such film. It deals with the underexplored subjectIn an age of superheroes, reboots, and formulas, it's refreshing to see a film that assumes the audence has some intelligence. "Passing," actor Rebecca Hall's feature directing debut is one such film. It deals with the underexplored subject of "passing" (when an African American passes themselves off as White). Rather that spell everything out for you, the film, based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, allows you as the viewer to interpret what you see through your own perspective. The result is a film that is in equal measure challenging as it is rewarding. The cast headed by Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga is first rate. Eduard Grau's black & white cinematography is superb. To fully appreciate this provocative film, it requires your undivided attention, so if don't see it in the theatre, be sure to eliminate anything that may distract from your experience. Hall, whose maternal grandfather, Norman Isaac Ewing, an African American who passed (alternately for White and Native American), demonstrates an obvious personal connection to the material. Not since Julie Dash's short film, "Illusions," has there been a film that deals with the subject of passing with such sophistication. Expand
2 of 3 users found this helpful21
All this user's reviews
7
Brent_MarchantOct 30, 2021
Trying to pass oneself off as something one is not can be a tricky -- even dangerous -- path to follow. But, at one time, it was a widely utilized practice in the African-American community, one in which light-skinned blacks sought to be seenTrying to pass oneself off as something one is not can be a tricky -- even dangerous -- path to follow. But, at one time, it was a widely utilized practice in the African-American community, one in which light-skinned blacks sought to be seen and accepted as Caucasian, believing that doing so would afford them benefits that their darker-skinned peers were fundamentally unable to avail themselves of. This was known as "passing," and it's the subject of director Rebecca Hall's debut feature. The film, set in 1920s New York, tells the story of two old friends who have a chance meeting after a number of years apart. One has been passing for years, not even telling her White husband the truth about her ethnic background. The other, a resident of Harlem, could pass if she chose to but doesn't, as she enjoys her life with her ebony-skinned husband and two sons. But, as they renew their friendship, the issue comes up for scrutiny on a number of occasions and in a number of ways, frequently leading them into some potentially problematic territory while simultaneously revealing that both they and others they know are all trying to "pass" in one way or another (and not necessarily where race is concerned). Eloquently and poetically shot in black and white, this fine offering gives viewers much to ponder where ethnicity, tolerance and integrity are concerned, all brought to life by the fine performances of Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, Andre Holland and Bill Camp. Several story threads feel a bit underdeveloped, but, on balance, this intriguing look at a challenging subject is sensitively handled, thought provoking and an excellent premiere effort from an aspiring filmmaker. Expand
2 of 4 users found this helpful22
All this user's reviews
7
JLuis_001Nov 20, 2021
A firm if somewhat vain debut behind the cameras for Rebecca Hall.

Forget the cheesy tagline, this story even with its superficial ingredients has a deeper reading, although unfortunately still rooted in racial issues. Tessa Thompson and
A firm if somewhat vain debut behind the cameras for Rebecca Hall.

Forget the cheesy tagline, this story even with its superficial ingredients has a deeper reading, although unfortunately still rooted in racial issues.

Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga are the pillars of this story, though it's Negga who takes the cake. By a long shot.

Don't expect anything exceptional, but for those who enjoy more serious films, Netflix also offers this option as a perfect antidote to the bland Red Notice.
Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
All this user's reviews
7
Stream2BigScreeNov 19, 2021
Well, Streamers, it's that time of the year when studios release all of their "prestige pics" with dreams of being awards contenders. Netflix has a number of films tossing their hats in that golden ring. Passing, which was released lastWell, Streamers, it's that time of the year when studios release all of their "prestige pics" with dreams of being awards contenders. Netflix has a number of films tossing their hats in that golden ring. Passing, which was released last week, is one of those films with all of the hallmarks of an awards contender. It is shot in stark black & white; it's based on a novel set in the 1920's; and, it addresses a serious socio-political issue. Here's whether Passing passed the prestige pic test. Passing is Rebecca Hall's, an actress from such faves as The Prestige, The Town and The Gift, debut as a writer and director. This film is based on a novel by Nella Larsen and it focuses on the story of Irene (Tessa Thompson), a Harlem socialite who passes as white sometimes. Irene reconnects with a childhood friend, Clare (Ruth Negga), who passes as white full time. The women have a chance encounter when Irene, while passing, takes a break from the heat in a hotel lounge and meets Clare. Their lives become entangled and begin to threaten each others' carefully constructed existences.

Rebecca Hall has done a good job putting this film together. She has a good eye for detail. The black and white theme of Passing is made more resonant by the choice to use black and white cinematography. It makes the film look stark, but it also illuminates the skin tones of the lead actresses. The film, which is set in the 1920s, has a distinct old Hollywood movie feel. Both Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga approximate the cadences and speaking styles of actors from that era. Negga, in particular, really surrenders to her character and brings a vibrant and complicated woman to life. Negga's performance displays exactly what her character, Clare, brings to Irene's regimented and unsatisfying life. The costume designs deliciously evoke that era and enhance the status of each character, particularly in the use of hats early on in the film. Passing is well-composed and the visuals really enhance the story.

My quibbles with Passing may stem from the novel itself - I don't know, I haven't read it. There seems to be a loss of focus on the through line of the plot, which should be about race in society and identity, in general. However, sometimes characters do things that are not clearly explained by the movie. In fact, there is a point where you may not understand whether these two women are friends, were friend or why they would have ever been friends. In my opinion, the film tends to lose focus and it becomes less about the complications of living as a white woman when you are black and more about other subplots that aren't as interesting. On the other hand, the movie is roughly 90 minutes, so it doesn't over stay it's welcome. And that's just fine with me.

What I'm saying is that Passing is a worthwhile viewing opportunity. The themes of the film feel important and they are usually told well, even if there are unfocused, or confusing, bits. An unfortunately, I think that some viewers may find the movie a little boring. It is a good looking period piece, especially with the black and white cinematography and the 1920's costumes. I would suggest a bowl of popcorn for this one as you check it out in your Netflix queue.
Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
All this user's reviews
10
j1trainNov 4, 2021
Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga are incredible. The movie is a gorgeous examination of identity and how personal turmoil and insecurity can be just as damaging as external cultural forces.
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
All this user's reviews
1
carolineschnappNov 27, 2021
Beautifully put together, abysmal in its understanding of human nature. Also, how the hell can two Black women pass as “white” to a KKK-level-racist white dude, one of those he's married to? There is no claim to realism here, but even theBeautifully put together, abysmal in its understanding of human nature. Also, how the hell can two Black women pass as “white” to a KKK-level-racist white dude, one of those he's married to? There is no claim to realism here, but even the fantasy does not have two legs to stand on. If DiAngelo and Kendi got together to make a movie. Expand
1 of 3 users found this helpful12
All this user's reviews
3
MetacriticOnurNov 10, 2021
bad
[ bad ]

adjective, worse, worst;(Slang) bad·der, bad·dest for 36.
not good in any manner or degree.
2 of 11 users found this helpful29
All this user's reviews
7
katezoeNov 10, 2021
Did not meet my expectations after such rapturous reviews. Film is good as is the acting. Besides passing for color there is underlying tension between the two female leads passing as straight?
0 of 2 users found this helpful02
All this user's reviews
10
HabibiehakimNov 11, 2021
What an impressive directorial debut by actress Rebecca Hall, Passing is really the most simple yet fascinating films of the year, it's stylist, it's beautiful, it's amazing, it's a 1 hour and 39 minutes movie that you must at least give it aWhat an impressive directorial debut by actress Rebecca Hall, Passing is really the most simple yet fascinating films of the year, it's stylist, it's beautiful, it's amazing, it's a 1 hour and 39 minutes movie that you must at least give it a try because i know this movie is not gonna be big unfortunately, watch it, it's not gonna waste your time, it's one of the best films of the year, Passing was incredible. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
10
jazzyfizzleDec 30, 2021
Hands-down best book-to-film adaptation ever. Hyperboles aside - I read the book two years ago, and I was excited but tepid when I heard it was being adapted into a film. Overall, the film gave me chills. Negga and Thompson floored me withHands-down best book-to-film adaptation ever. Hyperboles aside - I read the book two years ago, and I was excited but tepid when I heard it was being adapted into a film. Overall, the film gave me chills. Negga and Thompson floored me with their performances. I loved every second of it. I loved Hall's choice to film it in black and white with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Truly marvelous filmmaking and storytelling. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
5
TVJerryNov 22, 2021
This film is based on the 1929 novel set during the Harlem Renaissance. Tessa Thompson plays a Black woman, who discovers one of her childhood friends (Ruth Negga) is passing for white. They begin a new relationship that calls several issuesThis film is based on the 1929 novel set during the Harlem Renaissance. Tessa Thompson plays a Black woman, who discovers one of her childhood friends (Ruth Negga) is passing for white. They begin a new relationship that calls several issues into question. This first project written/directed by Rebecca Hall is shot in the old-school square ratio in black and white. Hall was able to coax effective performances from the cast, but the entire movie unfolds with the same quiet pace, which allows breathing room for the actors, but fails to create much emotional momentum. There are also time-lapse ellipsis in the timeline that are sometimes confusing. The period dresses are lovely and the actors do a commendable job, but the deliberate pace and almost complete lack of music make the story feel more stark and tamp down the story’s effectiveness. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
6
marklaing1Feb 20, 2022
This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A wonderful soundtrack, the BW worked well, gorgeous cinematography, superb acting. However, it all sort of fell apart in the second half. It seemed like a movie where Clare, who's passing white with a virtual KKK husband who, another reviewer pointed out was almost a KKK member and is so dumb as to not notice his wife's ethnicity bumps into an old friend Irene. It then turns into a movie where Irene, Clare's old friend from the old neighborhood, is almost losing her husband to the gregarious Clare and starts to fall apart. We lose all sympathy for this interloper for almost half the film and then we're supposed to feel sorry for her when the husband finds out at the end and goes bananas? Was this in the book I wonder? Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
alejandro970Nov 13, 2021
At first glance it looks like one of those movies in which nothing happens; but it is not like that. The story, shot in beautiful black and white, tells a story of a rather checkered friendship at a time when racial prejudice was veryAt first glance it looks like one of those movies in which nothing happens; but it is not like that. The story, shot in beautiful black and white, tells a story of a rather checkered friendship at a time when racial prejudice was very palpable. So as not to lose sight of. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
TammyCurryNov 28, 2021
Fantastic and faithful adaptation of Nella Larsen’s novel with just some minor changes (no Chicago, no Gertrude Martin). Tessa Thompson does an incredible job portraying Irene’s interior struggles, Rebecca Hall strikes all the right notes inFantastic and faithful adaptation of Nella Larsen’s novel with just some minor changes (no Chicago, no Gertrude Martin). Tessa Thompson does an incredible job portraying Irene’s interior struggles, Rebecca Hall strikes all the right notes in her direction and screenplay, and Ruth Negga is phenomenal at every turn. Watching her bring Clare’s misadventure to life is heartbreaking, haunting, and hypnotic. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
8
ChanekeCholoDec 13, 2021
Rebecca Hall steers as finesse in this breakthrough as a director. The performances are excellent, the script is very well developed with the central theme and the editing is so dynamic and flows naturally that you won't take your eyes offRebecca Hall steers as finesse in this breakthrough as a director. The performances are excellent, the script is very well developed with the central theme and the editing is so dynamic and flows naturally that you won't take your eyes off the screen. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews
9
Richard552Aug 11, 2022
Also, the black and white cinematography is such an important aspect in this film.$1 to buy a Netflix account, Google search: vtvshare
0 of 0 users found this helpful00
All this user's reviews