HomePassing review: An amazing story about race and pretending

Passing review: An amazing story about race and pretending

Gorgeous and versatile actress Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”, “The Town” and “The Prestige”) makes a stunning directorial debut with “Passing,” a gorgeous social/ethnic graphic piece shot entirely in black and white but always in shades from gray. Although the story moves at an icy pace at times, and the supposedly abrupt ending is something we can see going down Fifth Avenue, this is an engaging and beautifully performed stationary piece, led by towering twin performances from Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga.

Based on the 1929 novel of the same name by Nella Larsen, “Passing” is set in the jazz age of New York City, opening on a summer’s day when it’s hot as hell and ending at the end of winter when hell has frozen over. . In a quietly and politely effective opening scene that sets the visual and auditory tones of the story, Erin from Thompson comes downtown to do some shopping, obscured in part by the wide-brimmed hat she wears—as if she prefers the white shepherds in the toy store and in the tea room of a luxury hotel not They make sure it’s black.

We can feel the alarm bells ringing through Erin when a charming blonde (Ruth Negga) recognizes her from across the room, skips and redefines herself: she is Erin’s childhood friend, Claire, whom she hasn’t seen in over twelve years. . Since then, Claire has completely reinvented herself, in a shocking way; She lives in Chicago with her wealthy husband and daughter – who is white.

Claire seems so happy to see her old friend, and insists that Erin join her for a drink in her hotel suite (it must be sly, since ban is still the order of the day). Before Eren can make his sweet escape, Claire’s oily, bovine and obnoxious husband John (Alexander Skarsgard) enters, and it only takes minutes before Jon reveals himself to be an unapologetic racist, and Eren can only imagine how much damage Eren could do to strap her wagon to this. The beast of the man.

Most of “Passing” takes place in and around brownstone in Harlem where Erin lives a comfortable life with her husband, doctor Brian (Andre Holland) and her two sons, who will be of age where their father thinks they shouldn’t. Protection from the ugly racism that pervades the country. (Brian often talks about the whole family leaving “this infernal place.”) The relationship between Erin and Brian is respectful but drained of passion; They seem to constantly pass each other in the front hall, as Brian works long hours and Erin dedicates herself to organizing the next Negro Welfare League dance in which prominent white writer Hugh Wentworth (Bill Camp) will be the guest star.

When perseverance Claire appears on their doorstep and begins to establish herself in the life of the family and their housekeeper Zoe (Ashley Ware Jenkins), both Erin and Brian are eventually smitten with the “Blonde Princess,” as Brian calls her. As Clare works in every room she’s in like a mix of Zelda Fitzgerald, Blanche du Bois, and Mary Pickford, her magic works on just about everyone—except for the transcendent Wentworth, whose closed interests lie elsewhere.

With Claire’s belief that everyone passes for something not in one form or another and plenty of discussion about race, gender, status, and gender, “Passing” isn’t always the most accurate movie – but the dialogue is rich, cinematography by Edu Grau (in aspect ratio) To Standard Height 4:3) Stunningly beautiful, fashion and first-class production design. For the most part though, this is a showcase of great acting, from the multi-layered work of Thompson and Negga to invaluable supporting performances by Holland, Kamp and Skarsgård. This is a very personal project for Rebecca Hall, whose grandfather was black but was white, and made a beautifully crafted gem.

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