Past Lives (2023)

November 8th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Celine Song | S Korean Drama 105′

An ambitious – you could say precocious – pre-teen playwright moves from Seoul to Canada to further her writing ambitions in this moving first feature from Celine Song.

Nora (Seung-ah) leaves behind a teenage sweetheart Hae Sung. Twelve years later we meet her again as Nora (Lee) and fate sees her rekindling the earlier crush with Hae Sung (Teo Too) who still lives in Seoul. But their thing fizzles out and she marries New Yorker Arthur (John Magaro). Another twelve years goes by and Hae Sung still carries a candle for Nora, and hopes it will come alight again when he visits New York.

There’s something quite detached about Nora as a character that fuels this subtle drama about a young woman who often blows hot and cold in her romantic encounters. Clearly Nora (Lee) has a palpable chemistry with Hae Sung (You) but Arthur (Magaro) also features heavily as her neglected other half. Past Lives is a thoughtful and appealing debut for a South Korean director who is clearly going places. @MeredithTaylor


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