Rent Past Lives (2023)

4.0 of 5 from 248 ratings
1h 41min
Rent Past Lives Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrest apart after Nora's family emigrates from South Korea. Two decades later, they are reunited in New York for one fateful week as they confront notions of destiny, love, and the choices that make a life, in this heartrending modern romance.
Actors:
, , , Moon Seung-ah, Leem Seung-min, Ji Hye Yoon, Won Young Choi, Ahn Min-Young, Seo Yeon-Woo, Kiha Chang, Shin Hee-Chul, Jun Hyuk Park, , , Noo Ri Song, Si Ah Jin, Yoon Seo Choi, Seung Un Hwang, ,
Directors:
Producers:
David Hinojosa, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon
Writers:
Celine Song
Studio:
StudioCanal
Genres:
Drama, Romance
Collections:
Award Winners, BAFTA Nominations Competition 2024, Oscar Nominations Competition 2024
BBFC:
Release Date:
04/12/2023
Run Time:
101 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • "Bound by Fate: Exploring Past Lives" Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Celine Song and Actors Greta Lee and Teo Yoo
BBFC:
Release Date:
04/12/2023
Run Time:
106 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • "Bound by Fate: Exploring Past Lives" Featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Celine Song and Actors Greta Lee and Teo Yoo

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Reviews (6) of Past Lives

Underwhelming - Past Lives review by JR

Spoiler Alert
05/01/2024

We never really know Nora, the protagonist, because we have to just accept, without evidence, her brilliance (aspiring to win a Tony), and because of her rather opaque, underdeveloped characterisation. Her callous treatment of the adoring Hae Sung, first neglecting to say goodbye to him aged 12, and again in her 20's abruptly ending a series of intense late night video calls filled with longing (on his part), makes her a rather unsympathetic character. There were slight echoes of Nora (is the name a coincidence?) Ephron's 'You've got Mail' and 'Sleepless in Seattle' but without the fizz and verve. The film is long and slow and offers little that's new in the 'What if/Unrequited love' romantic genre. The music is good and some of the cinematography is interesting.

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Subtle & Emotional Romance - Past Lives review by GI

Spoiler Alert
18/03/2024

A romance about lost love and a film that asks What if?, a question amplified by the power of social media giving people the ability to reconnect. It also is suggesting, in my mind, that that is not always a good thing. Two young children live in South Korea and become friends and have a funny little date arranged by their mothers which leaves the boy thinking they are destined to be together. But then the girl's family emigrate to Canada and they lose contact. Years later and Nora (Greta Lee) is now living in New York, a budding writer, and through social media she gets in touch with Hae Sung (Tae Woo) and they begin speaking via Skype but Nora then feels the past is intruding in her future and cuts off the communication leaving Hae Sung feeling hurt and distraught. More years go by and Nora, now married to Arthur (John Magaro) , and Hae Sung reconnect again and this time he comes to the US for a visit. This opens up emotions and issues for all three of them. This is a simple and yet sophisticated relationship drama that looks at childhood crushes and their impact that can be exacerbated by the ability to connect very easily with persons from years ago and many miles away. This is a sad film in many ways and the narrative doesn't allow you to take sides as you'll see the heartbreaking issues that the three adults here struggle with. No one is being 'bad' or even unfaithful and the film opens up the debate about repressed feelings based on images and affections long since suppressed. In this it's a gentle and warm film and a love story for the modern age.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Still Waiting for the Screaming, Shouting and Throwing Stuff About..... - Past Lives review by Strovey

Spoiler Alert
21/03/2024

From a storytelling point of view Past Lives pulls no punches and for me was saying from the start Nay Young or Nora and Hae Sung were meant to be together from the moment they bonded as children, but as the old, tired and well-worn cliché goes, life got in the way. The question is, what do you do when it does? Past Lives looks at this and gives us the answer it does.

Only a three-hander with Lee and Yoo beautiful and soulfully playing the leads, there is obvious chemistry on screen, their performances are well complimented by John Magaro, in a role, if this were a rom-com, he would be the ‘baddy’. You know the trope and decent, earnest man, who has done nothing wrong, but gets dumped by his wife (or fiancée more properly) for the flashy, slightly wacky leading man. Well in this role Magaro is a decent caring man and acts so well you can see his conflict but the willingness to let his wife explore her past and feelings and discuss them all with her old friend. It is a great piece of believable acting and just once it is nice to see three people in a love story of sorts who are not a-holes, not one of them.

Past Lives boiled down to his basic components is a ‘What If?’ tale. What if they had got together back at school, what if they had stayed in touch for twenty years. All questions of course that can never be answered and you could be forgiven for saying there is literally no point asking those questions.

But of course, we all do.

Celine Song who wrote and directed Past Lives has a soft touch and the whole film sensitively approaches its topics. There is the clash of cultures, longing and nostalgia and love, and what loving a person really means.

It was a pleasure to see a soft gentle film with normal characters thrown into perhaps a slightly abnormal situation but nevertheless believable and entertaining. It is slow and quiet so if that is not your bag, if you have to have a baddie to boo and goodies to root for, with a lot of screaming and shouting, Past Lives is not for you.

There is a sense of anticipation throughout the story, and although the pace is slow it somehow still zips along, the change in language from the leads, from Korean, to English and back to Korean again certainly keeps your focus but also nothing is signposted or given away so you do not know how this will end. How you want it to end is up to you.

I have to recommend Past Lives as a sensitive and intelligent take on a non-traditional ‘love-triangle’ that is acted realistically, sensitively and not without a sense of fun and some sorrow. It is great.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Past Lives review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

No matter how your life turns out, there comes a point when you reach your early forties and start looking back. You think about the people you used to know and the life you used to live. As you trace the projection to your current point in time, a thought crosses your mind: What if I had taken this route instead? What if I pursued that girl I had a crush on? What if I took this job instead of that one? What if I hadn’t moved away? These thoughts plague the characters of the earnest drama Past Lives.

The film gives the audience a glimpse at the lives of Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae (Teo Yoo). They grew up together in South Korea and formed a bond that seemed to ensure they’d end up together. Unfortunately, Nora and her family moved to Canada when she was young. The two of them went their separate ways as Hae became an engineer in Korea while Nora became a writer in America. They reconnect 12 years later over the internet, but they decide to put their reconnection on hold again, considering how strange Nora views that Hae sought her out after so many years.

Another 12 years pass and Nora marries Arthur (John Magaro). Still hung up on Nora, Hae decides to travel to New York City to reconnect with the girl he knew many years ago. Their meetings are touching yet awkward, and they speak more about South Korean culture than their lives. But as they spend more time together, they start revealing more about themselves. Even after having spent so long separated, there’s a thin bond between them that they want to preserve to some degree somberly. It’s an aspect of Nora’s past she hasn’t quite gotten over and one that Arthur feels he has to let her realize to a certain terminus.

This is such a tender film in that it presents a bittersweet relationship that didn’t unfold like these two characters had hoped. There are quiet moments of connection as Nora and Hae slowly warm up to each other as they make small talk in Korean as they stroll around New York. In a lesser film, this might’ve been the moment when Nora dumps Arthur and runs off to be with Hae, her true love. But that’s not how the world works when you’ve spent so many years away from the people you once knew. It’s not like Nora can just step back into being the swooning girl who depended on Hae, despite whatever feelings Hae may still hold onto for her after his recent breakup with a girlfriend.

The ultimate gut punch of truth comes when Nora admits that she’s not the same girl and that Hae isn’t the same boy. Both of them grew up and went their separate paths. Had they both stayed in South Korea, they might’ve been married. But that didn’t happen and it won’t happen given how different they’ve become since then. It’s a truth that adults can recognize, but one that still hurts. Even when Nora states this with an almost content and sage view, she still ends up crying in the arms of Arthur soon after, punctured by the very essence of the pesky what-if questions that cloud our minds. There’s also a certain somberness in how Arthur, despite being a good husband, fears that he’ll never fully be a part of Nora’s world, as though her background with someone like Hae remains under strict lock and key. Nora assures him it’s not a problem, but the truth is that it’s a locked-away version of Nora that he’ll never know and she’ll never become again.

Past Lives is refreshingly honest about the nature of growing older, pursuing relationships, and letting go of the ones that would never progress past a crush. The mixture of sadness and serenity in a film like this can’t be overstated for how amazingly it touches on a crucial part of the human experience. Being close to the age of both the actors, there’s a painful relatability to it all, but also contentment with the progression of time, letting the tears flow as they may, but being grateful that you get to spend this life with someone wonderful, even if it was only for one chapter with a brief encounter years later. Films like this are a wondrous depiction of how fragile we can become, even if we’ve talked ourselves into being okay with the people we’ll never have the same relationships with again.

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