Past Lives

#Review: Past Lives

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Out this week in cinemas, is Past Lives from director Celine Song. The film stars Greta Lee, Teo Yoo and John Magaro. The film follows two childhood friends throughout their lives after one immigrates to America.

Past Lives is Celine Song’s debut feature, having been a staff writer on The Wheel of Time as well as having two plays under her belt. And as a feature film debut, Past Lives is flawless in execution. This film was achingly familiar. Great Lee is brilliant as Na Young, a woman who left South Korea with her family as a young girl and has found success in her adopted home.

One day she is on Facebook and sees that her old childhood friend Hae Sung (Teo Loo) is looking for her, so she reaches out and they strike up their friendship again. This leads to a months-long Skype relationship that ends abruptly when Na Young decides this is holding her back.

Fast forward 12 years and Hae Sung is taking a vacation in New York, hoping to meet up with Na Young. Na Young is excited but she is also worried about what feelings, if any, may emerge when he arrives and whether will it impact her marriage to her husband Arthur (John Magaro).

Inyeon; the ties between two people over the course of their lives

I adored Past Lives. It’s an absolutely stunning film, the cinematography was stellar. It felt quite ethereal at times as both characters wistfully think about the possible lives they could have lived if events had led them elsewhere. The acting was also brilliant, and the intimate cast each gave genuine and in some cases heartbreaking performances.

My personal favourite was Teo Yoo, Hae Sung is a wonderfully vulnerable human being and works wonderfully with Greta Lee’s excitable Na Young. What worked exceptionally well within the film was Hae Sung’s personal journey. He’s a man that knows he missed out on something and is trying to find it again. His story is for me, bittersweet and reminiscent of my own relationships and the climax between himself and Na Young will likely bring the house down. I know it did in my particular screening.

Past Lives is a wonderfully human romance story, there are no frills, no unnecessary drama, just the beauty of love and the less forgiving reality we live in.

I highly recommend this film to everyone looking for a good cry this weekend.

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