Past Lives – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Past Lives – Love and Memory: Friendship of Lost Times

In life, there are times when you think about what could have been.  From within, we look at stories that could have been told.  In the moment of possibilities, it is a thread that bridges character and emotions.  These ideas can lead to some great storytelling, especially on the big screen.  In this review, I look at the latest Korean Drama.  In a story about lost friendships, it is a journey that becomes something more.  From a simple premise, Past Lives becomes a riveting tale about life’s choices, and the fate of what never came to be. 

The story follows Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Woo), two childhood friends who reconnect after many years.  As time has passed, will the two rediscover what was lost or accept their new reality.  This film is a story of moments built upon the structure of characterization.  In the beginning, we come into the film through the drop-in method, witnessing undefined connections and a flashback to Nora and Hae Sung’s childhood.  After a series of expositional scenes, we witness how the two drifted apart: Nora’s family immigrating to Canada.  From here, the story breaks from the traditional three acts, weaving a story that builds upon characterization (of moments) through redefinition (of lost times).  The simplistic premise propels the thematic purpose of reconnection.  When Nora and Hae Sung interact (at two different times in their lives), it becomes situations of euphoria and indifference.  As we watch them converse about their childhood, adulthood, and the future, it humanizes the journey (for the audience).  As this continues, their interactions become an emotional roller coaster of conflict and personal convictions.  Their conversations become a raw reflection of detail that showcases the everlasting of the forgotten. 

As the two begin to understand their own purpose, time continues to move on through the drifting of their individual lives.  As this happens, new layers add to their shaky friendship, marking memories with hardship and emotional reverie.  The simplicity of the directive showcases the fragility of Nora and Hae Sung, as they try to understand what is happening, and what is really at stake.  Within the final moments, it becomes a thematic hold of the unforgettable, leading to an ending that shows what life has become.  Past Lives is a tale of endearing moments, but a character reflection of our own personal lives.  If you are a fan of Korean dramas, character films or stories about life, this is one for you.  A truly remarkable piece of art … an award worthy experience. 

Full Score – 4.5 out of 5 (Award Worthy)

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