In a pre-release review from its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, critic Alissa Wilkinson (Vox
) went to the heart of the many complicated contradictions at work in Ira Sachs’ Passages
: “It’s an extremely European film from the American director Ira Sachs, full of homages to classics of European cinema, and a portrait of a rascal and the helplessness of the human heart.” The “rascal” here is Tomas (Franz Rugowski, A Hidden Life
), a magnetic if narcissistic charmer, married to the steady, far less flashy Martin (Ben Whishaw, The Personal History of David Copperfield
) whose many virtues are not enough to keep Tomas from sleeping with Agathe (Adele Exarchopoulis, Blue is the Warmest Color
), a schoolteacher he meets at a party. Yes, it’s a triangle of emotion, eroticism, and extremes, and Sachs (Love Is Strange
) never shies from the sparks in this powerful drama. In witness to that, the MPA slapped Passages
with an NC-17 rating for its explicit sexual scenes, a rating Passages
turned down, so it is being released unrated. But Sachs has changed nothing.
In English and in French with English subtitles.
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