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Passing: Everyone's Saying The Same Thing Over 'Confusing' Ending

Kimberley Bond

| Last updated 

Passing: Everyone's Saying The Same Thing Over 'Confusing' Ending

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

WARNING: Spoilers for Passing below

If you’re looking for something to watch on the TV this winter, then Netflix has you covered.

The streaming service has always been home to family friendly and feel good films when the weather outside is cold, and this November, Netflix has pulled out the big guns with some new critically acclaimed titles.

One film that has been lapped up by critics and the audience alike is Passing, an adaptation of the 1929 novel of the same name.

Watch the trailer below:


The story follows Irene (Tessa Thompson) a Black woman who meets childhood friend Clare (Ruth Negga) by chance while staying at the hotel. Both women are light-skinned and can ‘pass’ for white, which they use to their advantage in a deeply and openly racist America.

Irene uses her ability to pass only for minor material gain - to buy things for her darker skinned children or for herself. However, Clare has told her racist husband John (played by Alexander Skarsgard) that she is white - not even their daughter is aware of her true heritage.

As Clare is missing her Blackness, she finds herself drawn to Irene and her husband Brian (Andre Holland). Clare’s closeness to Brian leads Irene to suspect the two are having an affair.

Passing's ending has shocked viewers (Credit: Netflix)
Passing's ending has shocked viewers (Credit: Netflix)

John soon learns of Clare’s identity, and the film’s final scenes converge into a violent confrontation, which results in John lunging towards his wife, Irene brushing Clare’s stomach and Clare falling from a window.

And viewers are left puzzling as to who was responsible for Clare’s death. While John is inherently racist and was full of rage after hearing the truth about his wife, others thought Irene was responsible for Clare’s death - seeing it as an opportunity to get her love rival out of her life.

Taking to Twitter, after asking her followers she ‘needed to talk’ about the ending of Passing, one woman wrote that she was convinced that Irene pushed Clare.

(Credit: Twitter)
(Credit: Twitter)
(Credit: Twitter)
(Credit: Twitter)
(Credit: Twitter)
(Credit: Twitter)

“She slick pushed her!” Wrote one woman, while another person added: “I watched this film five times. She pushed her.”

A third person had a more analytical take on the situation, saying that Irene had pushed Clare to ‘subconsciously remove her from her life’.

Others believe Irene’s part in Clare’s death may have been accidental.

“Irene was trying to protect Clare from John,” theorised one person, while another agreed: “Irene was just trying to get Clare out of his way.”

Meanwhile, some viewers believed that Clare deliberately threw herself out of the window, as she knew her life as she knew it with John was over.

This theory is emphasised in the original novel, as it suggests that as Clare fell ‘there was even a faint smile on her full, red lips, and in her shining eyes.’

The ambiguity of the ending of Passing means it’s up to the viewers at home to decide just how Clare died.

Passing is available to stream on Netflix.

Topics: TV And Film, Netflix

Kimberley Bond
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