“Passages” is The Tale of a Man who Wants it All

Synopsis: A gay couple’s marriage is thrown into crisis when one of them impulsively begins a passionate affair with a young woman.
Director: Ira Sachs
Stars: Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw, Adele Exarchopoulos

Sometimes, when you are a guest at a dinner party, you may be offered choices for dessert. Ice cream or cake? Some will choose ice cream, some will choose cake, and now and then, others will opt for both. That’s okay with dessert, but maybe not so great in relationships.

Passages, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and is now getting a wide release, is the tale of a man who wants it all.

Tomas (Franz Rogowski) and Martin (Ben Whishaw) are married. Tomas is more of a free spirit, and Martin is more reserved. They are out one night at a club, and Tomas wants to dance, but Martin isn’t feeling like getting down, so Agathe (Adele Exarchopoulos) subs in for him. They have never met but instantly have chemistry, and the two spend the night together. The next day, Tomas confesses this adultery to his husband. Most of the time, we are used to hearing dialogue such as “It was one time” or “It didn’t mean anything,” but Tomas leans in, saying how special it was.

The deep attraction between Tomas and Agathe turns into a relationship. At first, as usual, things seem great between the two, but then issues arise with that newfound relationship. The problem appears to be Tomas. While the character isn’t going to be likeable, Rogowski plays it excellently. We have a deep character study on someone who wants his cake and the ice cream, too. He needs attention, wants to be wanted, and can’t seem to be alone.

Ben Whishaw is impressive in this film. After voicing Paddington Bear and playing Q in several James Bond films, this was quite the departure.

Passages is a raw film that doesn’t skimp on the sex scenes. Different people will handle the material contrarily, but Ira Sachs has directed a strong movie. Many may see this as a love triangle, but it’s more of a see-saw as Tomas goes back and forth between Agathe and Martin. Tomas’s ego is out of control, and he is very good at manipulating the two of them, even if it isn’t intentional. Agathe and Martin know each other but are too caught up in their feelings for Tomas.

This movie is raw, unflinching, and, most of all, refreshing.

Grade: B+

Watch the movie trailer: