The official trailer for Passing, starring Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga, André Holland, Gbenga Akinnagbe, and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy, has finally hit the internet; promising to be an emotional dramatic examination of identity, roles, and choosing one’s place in society.
Passing centers on an act formerly practiced by some very fair-skinned African Americans in the early to mid-1900s. Those light enough to be perceived as white would sometimes hide their true racial identity and move throughout society as white people, thus avoiding racial injustices, violence, and second-class citizenship that Black people were subjected to at the time.
Passing follows the story of two Black women, former childhood friends Irene Redfield (Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Negga), both of whom are able to convincingly ‘pass’ as white, each choosing to live on opposite sides of the color line during the Harlem Renaissance in the late 1920s New York. After being reunited by a chance encounter one Summer afternoon, Irene reluctantly allows Clare into her home, where she ingratiates herself to Irene’s husband (André Holland) and family, and friends.
As their lives become more deeply enmeshed, Irene finds her stable existence rocked by Clare, turning the film into “a riveting examination of obsession, repression and the lies people tell themselves and others to protect their carefully constructed realities,” via Netflix.
The film premiered to grand acclaim at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Its source material, the 1929 novel of the same name by author Nella Larsen, is still lauded by literature scholars to this day due to its complex and quite ahead-of-its-time examination of colorism, gender roles, race, and sexual identity.
Passing hits select theaters on October 27 and streaming via Netflix on November 10.