Parents' Guide to


By Jordan Elizabeth, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Nuanced drama about race and identity in 1920s New York.

Movie PG-13 2021 98 minutes
Passing Poster Image

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Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

This film draws you in with its slow and tense releationships

A compelling film that draws you in with its slow and tense relationships. Thompson and Negga are sublime as they dance around each other in 1920s Harlem. The choreography between these two women plays out well in black and white. The conversation around color is heightened with that choice. Holland continues to excel in every film he's in and this is no exception. Thompson plays her slow burn calculated and very well. She embodies a woman that has worked hard to not show any cracks in a world that seeks to destroy her. The subtle queerness in the quiet exchanges between the characters reverberates on the screen. A beautifully directed film by Hall.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Passing is a stylized yet nuanced look into the practice of Black people passing for White. The film is able to explore whiteness in a unique way, since neither of the main characters is White. As a result, "whiteness" plays an abstract character of its own, both alluring and plaguing the movie's Black community. Irene, her husband, and her friends each have their moment of attraction toward Clare: It's the classic dynamic of oppressed people coveting the likeness of their oppressor. Clare represents a privilege that they have likely, if subconsciously, aspired to have. She has access to the power and protection that comes with being seen as White.

But that privilege isn't free. It has caused Clare to relinquish aspects of her true self. Irene, on the other hand, has had to nurture her power and protection on her own. A friendship with Clare means a friendship with someone who hides an identity they both share. If Clare rejects her own blackness, how can she possibly value Irene's blackness? Passing is a beautiful directorial debut from Rebecca Hall. Thompson exhibits restrained intensity as Irene, and Negga plays a lost, reckless, yet inescapably lovable Clare. Sensitivity and generosity touch every element of the production, from the cinematography to the editing, allowing viewers to sit in the prolonged emotion of the characters.

Movie Details

  • On DVD or streaming: November 10, 2021
  • Cast: Tessa Thompson , Ruth Negga , Andre Holland
  • Director: Rebecca Hall
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Female actors, Black actors, Latino actors, Multiracial actors
  • Studio: Netflix
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: Friendship , History
  • Run time: 98 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: thematic material, some racial slurs and smoking
  • Last updated: February 17, 2023

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