Stop the presses, for once I like a movie more than the New York Times. In fact, Amy Nicholson was downright harsh.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t LOVE Passages. But I did appreciate and even knowingly shake my head in understanding and remembering my second marriage which had an eerily similar dynamic of a man who’s always impulsively seeking out love and attention from many sources. Also, known as a B class personality disorder, in my ex’s case: oppositional defiant disorder. That ends your Psychology class for today.
Passages, directed by Ira Sachs (best known for the Palm d’Or nominee Frankie in 2019), breaks some ground as a mainstream flick with explicit sex of both hetero and homo, and the confusion of a non-binary person played by Franz Rogowski. Franz does the perfect tightrope walk to make us as an audience understand his allure, all while screwing (to be as blunt as his character is) two different people. That’s not an easy job, but charisma (as was my case as well) is very difficult to say no to and his male partner, played with humble grace by Ben Whishaw, certainly succumbs even if occasionally begrudgingly.
Franz’s romance with a woman, is more lust than emotion, but when hormones are flying, the two are sometimes tough to distinguish between. The actress, Adèle Exarchopoulos, skirts the desire to be tough with the longing to be loved, and falls head over heels in the old trap of “I can be the dame who tamed him”. Behavior of which, again, I am super familiar.
Explicit sex scenes of the Heinz variety garnered this an Unrated (which I didn’t think was even allowed) designation. I enjoyed the authenticity of these scenes and found it more erotic than Adele’s other foray into the naked side in Blue is the Warmest Color; mainly because we see more movement and less parts and also zero spit (which really turned me off in the latter film).
Combined with brilliant cinematography, great costuming and super hip music, Passages is worth seeing for the dynamics and how these type relationships eventually cycle out.