Why Rebecca Hall’s Passing Lacks An Esoteric Perspective But Inspires A Courageous Conversation

A Curious Lens to Examine A Contentious Subject

Robin A Henderson
7 min readDec 3, 2021
Image by Netflix

Every critic has an opinion about Passing. And many of them miss the point.

“In Netflix’s ‘Passing,’ Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga play with racial ambiguity.” — NPR

“Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Passing’ on Netflix, an Extraordinary Drama About Racial Identity Starring Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson” — Decider

“Passing review — Rebecca Hall’s stylish and subtle study of racial identity” — The Guardian

‘Passing’ Review: Rebecca Hall’s Subtle, Provocative Directorial Debut” — Variety

This is how these reviews appear in google searches, with one exception. NPR’s Karen Grigsby Bates used a different title in her review, “In Rebecca Hall’s ‘Passing,’ people aren’t always who they seem.”

Bates, a female African-American journalist, chronicles her personal experience with passing in the review. The other…



Robin A Henderson

I write about inclusive storytelling in Hollywood and diverse representation in wellness.