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Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga's new film elegantly unpacks racial tension in 1920s New York

It may not be glaringly obvious, but how race affected people's lives, attitudes and opportunities in 1920s New York – the setting for actress Rebecca Hall's compelling directing debut, Passing – was eerily similar to today. Based on Nella Larsen's 1929 novel and available on Netflix today, Passing follows Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson), a mixed race woman who presents as Black, with racism pervading all aspects of her life. This reality becomes even starker after a chance encounter with her old friend, Clare Kendry Bellew (Ruth Negga), who is also mixed race but has spent years passing as white, complete with a bigoted husband (Alexander Skarsgård). After hiding her Black heritage for so long, Clare wishes to reconnect with it – and Irene complies as the perfect conduit. But can Clare have it both ways and dip into each world without grave consequences?

"Whether it's Thompson's Irene, whose constant eye contact-avoiding behaviour betrays her discomfort in public 'white' spaces, or Clare, whose loneliness and facade-like mannerisms in her privileged world are elegantly embodied by Negga, what this film does brilliantly is show the the importance of race as a construct and its role in how we operate in the world," says Stylist Loves writer Kiran Meeda. "It's not so much about which race is more beneficial to pass as, but delving into the motivations behind the switch that makes for a truly gripping watch." On Netflix now


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These poignant short stories honestly depict the underlying feelings of our closest relationships

There's nothing quite like diving into a novel, knowing you have hundreds of pages ahead of you to get lost in someone else's story. But it's not just one person's narrative that Things We Do Not Tell The People We Love (Hodder & Stoughton) tells – it's many. Through a series of short stories, Huma Qureshi explores our relationships with those closest to us, touching on feelings of shame, secrecy, loneliness, longing and bitterness. Spanning multiple generations, races and countries, the poignant collection draws on the empathy of the reader, deftly portraying how one's sense of self affects our most intimate relationships.

"Although limited in pages, the stories hold a depth that many lengthy tomes fail to deliver," says Stylist Loves deputy editor Annie Simpson. "Qureshi fully captivates the reader in so few pages, with each of the narratives just as absorbing as the last. I especially loved The Jam Maker, a tale of a young girl who struggles with her sense of belonging following the untimely loss of her father, and Too Much, told from the perspective of a single mother who encounters a profound sense of loss after a sudden and unexplained distance grows between her and her adult daughter. Through Qureshi's poetic style and evocative language, nothing is lost through the stories being short, with the bonus that that feeling of emptiness you experience at the end of a really good book is short-lived – all you have to do is turn the page and there's another character with their own unique and often familiar struggles lying in wait." £16.98, Bookshop.org


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Image credits: Netflix; Samsung; Claire Irwin; Aliyah Otchere; Stylist
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