Passing ★★★½

It's an astonishingly bold move for Rebecca Hall to choose this particular project for her directing debut, but she has never been an artist interested in making things easy on herself. Guided and undeniably elevated by Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, the film handles its landmine of a premise with insight and sensitivity, lending equal care and compassion to the passive idealism of Irene and the assertive pragmatism of Clare. Apart from a few truly shocking moments, Passing isn't interested in melodrama, and it generally avoids the predictable paths most viewers will be expecting. It's quiet and introspective, with major revelations playing out in fleeting glances and unspoken exchanges, its players bathed in a vivid monochrome that speaks to all of their thorniest questions.

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