Past Lives Review

Friends are important, especially the ones we hold onto for many years. Past Lives is one of the best films on friendship I’ve seen. It shows how keeping the friends we have known for a long time reminds us of what to be grateful for in life. Director Celine Song makes her directorial debut with Past Lives, and it is a monumental achievement. The film is strong in portraying connections and memories, but also demonstrates how the past can play a positive part in the present world among close friends. It is a portrait that sends a message to be welcoming to those who have positive value to offer the world.

Past Lives gears on Nora (played by Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (played by Teo Yoo). They are childhood friends who have been out of touch though for ages. In their younger days, Nora’s family emigrated from South Korea. Two decades pass, and they find each other online. They begin to socialize more again and touch base frequently. Nora is married and her husband is Arthur (played by John Magaro). Arthur does not display any jealousy and is not against Nora reconnecting with Hae Sung. Hae Sung comes to visit Arthur and Nora in the United States. Both Nora and Hae Sung relive the many fascinations of their younger days and reconnect over what brought them joy. The powerful bond of friendship is still within their hearts.

Past Lives is one of the most beautiful films I have seen in terms of friends being there for each other. Nora and Hae Sung are on this journey of figuring out the curve balls life threw at them and how their cultures are different and intertwined. Arthur sees those elements as well. The powerful example illustrated in Past Lives comes in the long discussions and the realizations of how life has turned out for Nora and Hae Sung. While they are in their own universes, the message that is conveyed is to always keep the ones we care about in our hearts and be there for each other whenever we can.

The movie includes conversations regarding diversity and the director allows them to explore interesting territory. The discussions between Nora and Hae Sung do not serve any negative purpose. It is simply about them remaining friends and realizing they truly have not left each other. Their separation happened way before they were old enough to potentially fall in love.  They still have the heart for their friendships and find meaningful connection again many years later.

Again, this film is a masterpiece. The story is riveting, the goal is moving, and the film itself is a revelation of love among friends. Past Lives makes its audience feel the love that surrounds Nora and Hae Sung. It also makes them feel the love between Nora and her husband, Arthur. Past Lives opens the door to great possibilities by using fascinating elements in memorable cinematic moments. Four stars for Past Lives.


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