Review: Past Lives

Past Lives has gained significant attention at festivals around the world — rightfully so.


When Nora (Lee) emigrates from South Korea to the USA, she loses contact with her best friend. It's only after many years that they reconnect and slowly discover more about each other.

Hae Sung, Nora, and her husband Arthur.

More time passes and many things happen in their lives — for instance, Nora marries an American, Arthur (Magaro) — when they finally decide to meet in New York. Can their longing for each other lead to something more?


The lead roles of Nora and Hae Sung are played by Greta Lee and Teo Yoo, with Lee in particular standing out as a fantastic actress. She is so convincing and emotional that she makes the entire film interesting by herself.

The married couple Nora and Arthur are played by Greta Lee and John Magaro.

Her husband Arthur is played by John Magaro, who also stands out — he is really good in the role of the man who doesn't quite understand the situation but senses that something is going on. Impressive.


Past Lives is exactly the kind of film that I often get caught up in, with a small focus on just a few people, beautiful cinematography, and talented actors. My wife usually calls them "films where nothing happens," which misses the point. A lot happens — just no superheroes fighting, that's true.

Greta Lee is impressive in the lead role as Nora.

Despite thinking that the film was really good, it feels like there should have been more substance here. The plot is quite simple, and the film unfolds pretty much as one would expect. The ending is really good and elevates the overall experience, but I wished for more emotional and deeper scenes.

Regardless, it's a really good drama film that you must see if you love movies.


Past Lives gets the score 7 out of 10.


Past Lives is a simple yet powerful drama about leaving one's home country and the special bond that friends from the past can have. It is beautifully shot and features excellent performances, but something is missing to reach top ratings.

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Written by
Grace Charlton


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