Rebecca Hall earned stellar reviews for making the jump from actress to director in “Passing,” her feature debut behind the camera that earned universal acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Hall adapted Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel of the same name for her directorial debut, which pairs Tessa Thompson and “Loving” Oscar nominee Ruth Negga. Netflix has debuted the first trailer for “Passing” below.
The official synopsis for the film from Netflix reads: “‘Passing’ tells the story of two Black women, Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga), who can ‘pass’ as white but choose to live on opposite sides of the color line during the height of the Harlem Renaissance in late 1920s New York. After a chance encounter reunites the former childhood friends one summer afternoon, Irene reluctantly allows Clare into her home, where she ingratiates herself to Irene’s husband (André Holland) and family, and soon her larger social circle as well. As their lives become more deeply intertwined, Irene finds her once-steady existence upended by Clare, and ‘Passing’ becomes a riveting examination of obsession, repression and the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities.”
In her Critic’s Pick review out of the Sundance Film Festival, IndieWire’s Kate Erbland hailed Hall’s “beautiful and provocative” handling of the source material. “Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga shine in this elegant, searing period piece,” Erbland writes. “In first-time director Rebecca Hall’s capable hands, ‘Passing’ becomes a similarly seminal feature film, as beautiful and bruising and knotty as the novel that inspired it. Like Larsen, Hall hails from a mixed background, and her own experiences with racial presentation and expectation help root a complicated story that resists any and all hammy or heavy-handed twists.
In addition to Thompson and Negga, Hall’s “Passing” cast also includes André Holland, Bill Camp, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, and Alexander Skarsgard. The film is shot by cinematographer Eduard Grau, who teamed with Tom Ford on “A Single Man” and shot Joel Edgerton-directed projects “The Gift” and “Boy Erased.”
Netflix will release “Passing” in select theaters October 27. The film will be available to stream on Netflix starting November 10. Watch the official trailer for the film below.