Past Lives

Celine Song, South Korea, USA, 2023o


Nora and Hae Sung, 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.

Who hasn't experienced this? An intimate friendship or secret love from childhood days that still resonates decades later and of which one sometimes wonders what would have become of it had one not lost sight of each other. At least that's what happens to the heroine of Celine Song's directorial debut Past Lives, who - just like the director - followed her parents from Seoul to Canada when she was ten years old, and in her mid-thirties - almost like the director - lives in New York as a hopeful playwright and wife of an American professional colleague. Only, in the case of the film's heroine, it doesn't stop at the silent question. 24 years after the separation and 12 years after an intensive chat phase, the childhood sweetheart is back on the doorstep and asks, hesitantly at first, then more and more unmistakably, the question of fate: What was that then, what is it now? After a dutifully narrated opening, Song embarks on this exploration of conflicting emotions with impressive sincerity and a sense of nuance, relying on a fantastic cast: It's been a long time since we've seen the tumult of emotions behind captured facades in such a forceful and multi-layered way. And it's been a long time since it's been so aesthetically pleasing: the settings, color scheme, camerawork and editing of Past Lives are a delight. Finally, the title transforms from evocation of the past to evocation of the future with the last sentence of the final encounter. Wow.

Andreas Furler

Die kanadisch-koreanische Regisseurin Celine Song erzählt in ihrem Debütfilm von einer Liebe weit jenseits von romantischen Klischees. Past Lives ist einer jener Filme, die auf leisen Sohlen daherkommen und einen unerwartet in einen emotionalen Abgrund stürzen. Einer der besten Filme des Jahres.

Susanne Gottlieb


The Guardian, 9/5/2023
All rights reserved The Guardian. Provided by The Guardian Archiv
Variety, 1/20/2023
All rights reserved Variety. Provided by Variety Archiv
epd Film, 7/24/2023
All rights reserved epd Film. Provided by epd Film Archiv, 11/7/2023
All rights reserved Provided by Archiv, 11/7/2023
All rights reserved Provided by Archiv
Celine Song reflects on ‘Past Lives’
/ Associated Press
en / 6/7/2023 / 09‘50‘‘

Co-stars Teo Yoo and Greta Lee interview each other
/ StudiocanalUK
en / 8/31/2023 / 04‘14‘‘

How director Celine Song hopes you'll feel about "Past Lives"
en / 9/18/2023 / 18‘45‘‘

Movie Datao

Drama, Romance
Running time
106 Min.
Original languages
Korean, English
ØYour rating7.9/10
IMDB user:
7.9 (103456)
8.5 (13)
7.2 (6) q

Cast & Crewo

Greta LeeNora
Yoo TeoHae Sung
John MagaroArthur


Celine Song reflects on ‘Past Lives’
Associated Press, en , 09‘50‘‘
Co-stars Teo Yoo and Greta Lee interview each other
StudiocanalUK, en , 04‘14‘‘
How director Celine Song hopes you'll feel about "Past Lives"
BAFTA, en , 18‘45‘‘
Review The Guardian
Peter Bradshaw
Review Variety
Peter Debruge
Review epd Film
Kai Mihm
Axel Timo Purr
François Lévesque
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