Director Rebecca Hall has brought a book from the 1920s to life to tell a story that still resonates almost a century after it was written. On November 10, Netflix will premiere Hall’s movie Passing starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga. Based on a 1929 novel by Nella Larson, Passing, which was shot in black and white, follows two childhood friends, Irene Redfield (Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Negga), who reunite in 1920s Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. They both grew up as mixed race girls in Chicago, but what once connected them has led them down very different paths.
While Redfield lives her life as a Black woman with her Black husband and sons, Kendry passes for white and her white, racist husband has no clue about her mixed heritage. After Redfield and Kendry cross paths, Kendry becomes enmeshed in Redfield’s world trying to impress her friends and husband. Kendry turns Redfield’s life upside down as she becomes obsessed with her reality and weary of her world that’s based on a lie. While Kendry passes for white in order to get the life she dreamed of, she admires that Redfield didn’t have to lie in order to live a good life, which Kendry deemed as “perfect.”
Besides Thompson and Negga, the film also stars Alexander Skarsgard, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Bill Camp and Antoinette Crowe-Legacy.
Passing will be released in select theaters on October 27, before its Netflix debut on November 10. Watch the trailer below.