Past Lives Movie Review

Tender and thoughtful

What’s it about?

Two childhood friends reconnect as young adults, and then later in life. At each juncture they’re confronted with the choices they’ve made, and their relationship in the broader context of their lives.

What’d we think?

Peter Linning says: Past Lives is a beautifully-made debut film from writer/director Celine Song, a quiet and contemplative examination of how our relationships connect us to earlier versions of ourselves. We first meet our leads as children in Korea at around 12 years old before Na Young (later going by Nora) emigrates to Canada with her family. We see them reconnect 12 years later as young adults searching for their place in the world, talking online and arranging skype dates (in some scenes that will be incredibly nostalgic for some), but the focus of the story is their final meeting as 30-somethings after another 12 years pass.  As a debut effort, it’s an exceptional film – Celine Song’s direction is confident yet restrained, the lead performances are all fantastic, and the story has some wonderfully-written moments the feel incredibly relatable.

The movie is rather slow and gentle in its ebbs and flows, although never losing focus – it’s less of a romantic film than it is a film exploring the philosophy of relationships. I really enjoyed Past Lives, and while it didn’t resonate with me the way it clearly has for so many others, I’d still absolutely endorse checking it out.

A raconteur by nature and motormouth by trade, the only thing Pete loves more than watching movies is a good debate about movies. He'll argue with anyone about anything, and enjoy it more than is socially acceptable.
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