Starring: Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, and Bill Camp
Director: Rebecca Hall
Rebecca Hall's directorial debut, Passing, has a fair amount going for it, though its intended commentaries on race, class, sexuality, etc. seem mostly relegated to the fringes of the script. It's almost as if Hall is afraid to approach the film's central themes too explicitly. There's a delicacy in her direction that feels timid rather than assured. Still, the movie does boast a trio of solid performances from Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, and André Holland in crisp black-and-white cinematography that is sure to be counted among the best of 2021. It's not perfect, but it's got it where it counts.
Despite a rich and interesting premise, beautiful cinematography shot in crisp (and, for once, necessary) black and white, and stellar performances from both Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson, Passing mostly feels like a missed opportunity. It doesn't seem too interested in exploring the obvious and more timely themes of race that stem from its setup, which is a shame. That said, Passing is still a quality film, but it could have been an important one if it had only gone a little deeper. I absolutely loved the classical timbre, cadence, and vocabulary of the dialogue, though.