Movie Reviews

‘Past Lives’ Review: Celine Song’s Astounding Debut Is A Top Contender For Film Of The Year | Sundance 2023

When you first see the three leads of past life— The writer-director’s stunning debut celine songIt’s from across the bar when two strangers are trying to figure out how this group knows each other. When they see Nora (Greta Lee), Hyesung (Yoo Tae Oh) and Arthur (John Magaro), patrons of these two bars make guesses: who’s married, who’s related, who’s the third wheel in the equation.Between past lifewe, too, know where these three end up, what they mean to each other, and how their story is heartbreakingly romantic, perfectly told, and artfully crafted to be the best movie of 2023. I find myself trying to understand what is in a movie made in

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Song flashes back 24 years in a bar to show young Nora and her family as they prepare to emigrate from South Korea. Before they leave, Nora goes on a kid’s date with a class kid she has a crush on, Hyesung. After spending some good time together, the two part ways as Nora and her family fly thousands of miles away.

Song then cuts to 12 years later as Nora is in New York City for school and learns that Hyesung was looking for her. The two find each other again, begin an online friendship, and are almost inseparable in their lengthy conversations on the Internet. It tells this story that took place and shows how much we change and how the relationships in our lives can change as we grow older and evolve.

Like last year’s incredible back to seoul, past life It shows the many lives we live in this and how we become new and different people while staying who we are. For example, the child version of Nora is, unsurprisingly, completely different from the Nora you meet in college. Nora is also different from the person we meet now.but past life It’s also a matter of perspective in many ways. Nora might view the version of himself that grew up in South Korea as a whole other person, but spent these moments of his childhood with this girl he’s been intrigued with for years. For Hyesung, who has as the only time, it’s almost… the core of his understanding of who she is.

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past life We often come back to the idea of ​​“inyoung” that there are moments in the course of their lives that bind them together. But no matter what, Inyoung says that all our encounters, all our relationships are destined, we are meant to meet these people in life, and they It is this core idea that makes . past life Seeing Nora and Hyesung grow, change, get closer and further apart is such a moving proposition.

This is a movie, and we expect such stories to end in reunion and love, so Song will meet these expectations, but regardless of how this story ends, their relationship will never end. At one point, a character comments that if this story were a movie, it would be seen as a villain who gets in the way of what the audience wants. No, but Song’s manipulation of these difficult ideas and emotions makes this an even stronger story in the long run. It’s a story of the intricacies and intricacies of life, and how our life paths never work out the way we expected them to. increase.

Greta Lee excels as Nora because she embodies the playfulness and curiosity that made Nora such an adorable child, but while keeping her heart the same, she continues to explore the ways in which life changes us in some way. Yoo Tae Oh is also great as Hae Sung, who can’t forget the girl he fell in love with when he was a child. This love ended up being incredibly affectionate and affecting thanks to Yoo Tae Oh’s performance, and I can’t help but cheer for him and Nora reuniting. Although he doesn’t have Thyme, Magaro is also a notable addition to this group, whose hangdog appearance and his fears and anxieties make him a character with potential clichés, but instead In fact, he is one of the most sympathetic and kind characters in this heartfelt endeavor.

Song has created a film that perfectly encapsulates the messiness of life. Song explores ideas of certain things that never happened in our lives. The handling is impressive. past life It’s about accepting that the choices we’ve made in life were right, not necessarily regretting them, and the growth that changes our desires and passions year after year. masu (song is small ax cinematographer Xavier Kirchner here), when she’s faced with a topic that’s hard for even established and experienced filmmakers to do justice to. past life Seeing Celine Song become one of the most exciting new filmmakers of the future.

Song’s work here is incredible because this tale of past and present, and what it means for the future, is a story that has been carefully handled with love and heart. Lee, Yu Teo, and John Magaro put on a stellar trio performance, each hitting a unique and important perspective on this story that will stick in your mind for a long time in a film you won’t want to leave. . past life is not only the best film at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but it could also be rated as one of the best films of 2023.

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