The Sundance Film Festival has been a launchpad for numerous Oscar-nominated films since the 1990s. Renowned directors like Todd Field, Jane Campion, and Richard Linklater have unveiled award-winning works at this prestigious event. Memorable films such as Get Out, Call Me By Your Name, and Coda all received their first taste of recognition in the charming setting of Park City. This year, the Sundance Film Festival showcased several films that captivated critics with their innovative storytelling. Yet, one film in particular has truly captured the spotlight. Past Lives, directed by the talented Celine Song in her feature film debut, is making waves as an early frontrunner in this year’s Oscar race. The movie features a stellar cast including Greta Lee (known for Russian Doll), Teo Yoo (of Leto fame), and John Magaro (from The Big Short). It weaves a compelling narrative about two individuals who were separated by circumstance but brought back together by destiny. For those eager to experience what is already being hailed as one of the standout films of the year, here’s everything you need to know about how, when, and where you can watch this poignant and remarkable story.
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What Was the Initial Release Date for Past Lives?
Past Lives made its grand debut with a wide release in theaters all across North America on June 23, 2023.
Before this, the captivating drama had its initial premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21. It then embarked on a limited theatrical run in theaters in Los Angeles and New York, enchanting audiences from June 2, 2023.
Will Past Lives Be Available on Streaming?
Unfortunately, A24 has yet to reveal when we can expect Past Lives to be available for digital streaming. However, it’s highly likely that the film will find its streaming home on the newly rebranded Paramount+ With Showtime, given that this is where A24’s most recent releases have landed. You can look forward to Past Lives joining the ranks of other recent A24 gems on the streaming service, including titles like Pearl, The Inspection, and the Best-Picture winner Everything Everywhere All at Once.
But if you’re eager to own this captivating film for yourself, you’re in luck! Past Lives is already available for purchase on all major digital platforms, including iTunes, Google Play, and Prime Video. Simply click the button below, and you can make this remarkable cinematic experience yours to watch whenever you please.
Watch the Trailer for Past Lives
On February 22nd, a captivating trailer for Past Lives made its debut, offering a glimpse into the lives of our protagonists, Nora and Hae Sung. The trailer reveals that the two have been leading separate lives since their initial separation. Nora is now in America, where she has forged a happy and healthy relationship with a white American man. Meanwhile, Hae Sung has remained in South Korea, keeping their connection at a distance.
Intriguingly, Nora introduces the audience to the concept of In-Yun, a theme that will play a pivotal role in the unfolding plot. Initially dismissing it as a tactic employed by Koreans to charm others, she soon discovers that In-Yun is indeed a potent force in their lives. The moment Nora and Hae Sung are finally reunited after years apart, their undeniable connection becomes evident. As Nora aptly puts it, ‘If two strangers happen to cross paths on the street, and their clothes accidentally brush against each other, that means there have been 8,000 layers of In-Yun between them.’
What is the Plot of Past Lives?
The official plot synopsis for Past Lives goes like this:
Nora and Hae Sung, childhood friends with a profound connection, are forcibly separated when Nora’s family relocates from South Korea. Fast forward two decades, and their paths converge once again in New York, setting the stage for a pivotal week in which they grapple with the profound concepts of destiny, love, and the life-altering choices that shape one’s existence. This poignant modern romance unfolds as they navigate the complexities of their shared past and uncertain future.
Other Movies Like Past Lives
While you eagerly anticipate the local screening of this Sundance gem, why not indulge in these three other films that delve into the complexities of unconsummated love, modern romance, and the challenges of balancing adult responsibilities with genuine affection.
In the Mood for Love (2000) – Directed by Wong Kar Wai, a cinematic maestro of the last three decades, In the Mood for Love consistently ranks as one of the all-time best films. Set in 1960s Hong Kong, it follows the lives of a man and a woman residing in the same apartment building who discover that their respective spouses are engaged in an affair. Bonding over their shared emotional turmoil, they gradually develop feelings for each other. However, their profound fear of becoming like their unfaithful partners prevents them from consummating their love. With incredibly moving performances from Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, this film stands as a poignant portrayal of restrained affection.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) – Few films from the 1960s maintain their storytelling impact, but The Umbrellas of Cherbourg certainly does. Featuring Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo, the story revolves around two young lovers, Genevieve and Guy, whose love initially appears invincible. However, when Guy is drafted for military service in Algeria, their separation, combined with Genevieve’s mother’s objections and the never-ending war, shatters the love they once thought was unbreakable. With a heartrending score by Michel Legrand and captivating cinematography by director Jacques Demy, this musical masterpiece is sure to bring tears to your eyes.
Her (2013) – This gripping exploration of modern romance has been a hot topic in the last decade. Her introduces us to Theodore, a lonely middle-aged man who has struggled to find love for years. When he starts conversing with a new AI system on his phone, he begins to experience love in a whole new way, pushing the boundaries of what it means to be human. Joaquin Phoenix delivers a sensitive and endearing performance, portraying someone grappling with the complexities of love in a world that often isolates us. Meanwhile, Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of Samantha, the AI love interest, stands as one of the most remarkable voice-acting performances in cinematic history.