Release Date, Cast, Trailer, and Everything We Know So Far
Summer is fast approaching and so is our excitement. The summer movie season brings with it some of the biggest and most highly anticipated blockbusters of the year. There’s a certain buzz and energy in the air during this time, as we eagerly anticipate the next big release and have long discourses over our favorite films with friends and family. Movie studios are well aware of the magic of this season and often schedule their biggest releases to fall in the sunny months. A24 is already on the bandwagon and has announced three noteworthy films for the season: Past Lives (2023), You Hurt My Feelings, and Talk to Me.
Summer romance is special. The days are longer and the sun is always out, so the mood is already positive. While some may contest that fall has snuggle weather and winter has beautiful snow days, the possibilities of romance in the summer months remain unmatched. Pair it up with a movie about childhood sweethearts separated by distance who reunite 20 years later – we have the perfect summer watch in our hand. Past Lives is exactly that movie.
Writer and director Celine Song makes her feature film directing debut with Past Lives, which has garnered a 94% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Many critics are already calling it one of the best new films of 2023. And on that note, here’s everything you need to know before watching Past Lives when it premieres.
When and Where Is Past Lives Releasing?
Past Lives had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2023, before playing at the 2023 Berlin International Film Festival, receiving critical acclaim at both events. The film will get a limited release on June 2, 2023, by A24, and might head to streaming after its theatrical run period.
Past Lives will be going up alongside a number of other anticipated summer blockbusters like Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, The Boogeyman, and BlackBerry, which will all be out on the same day. Its release on streaming service is still a mystery, but we are hoping that sooner rather than later, it will make its appearance on any of the streaming platforms.
Watch the Past Lives Trailer
On February 22, A24 released the Past Lives trailer, without any mention of a set release date. We are introduced to the Korean roots of two of our main characters as Greta Lee’s Nora explains the meaning behind the Korean concept of ”inyeon”, which means providence or fate – or how people end up in each other’s lives. This concept itself sets the tone of the 2-minute trailer as we are taken into the lives of Nora, Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), and Arthur (John Magaro). The trailer artfully captures the falling-in-love stage for Nora and Arthur, and their domestic life, while building up to the midpoint confrontation between Hae Sung and Nora.
There is that awkwardness that comes with being apart for 20 years but also the familiarity of being in the presence of your childhood friend – the bright yet shy smiles, the use of Korean to fully deliver on the excitement, the stolen glances, and awkward posing in front of your friend’s camera. Paired with Cat Power’s cover of “Stay”, the trailer delivers an emotionally nostalgic feel as the audience together with the characters are left to wonder if fated love can be real and the what-ifs of life.
Who Is Making Past Lives?
Celine Song is the writer and director of Past Lives, with A24 having distribution rights for the movie. David Hinojosa, Christine Vachon, and Pamela Koffler serve as producers, and Killer Films, 2AM, and CJ ENM are the production companies involved with the movie. Christopher Bear and Daniel Rossen composed the score for Past Lives, while Keith Fraase brings his experience as the editor with Shabier Kirchner serving as the cinematographer.
Who’s In the Cast of Past Lives?
As one of the star-crossed lovers, Greta Lee plays Nora, who embodies the liveliness and curiosity of her younger self ,as she takes on the journey of life and how that changes who we are while still keeping our hearts the same. While Lee may not be a household name for much of the audience, she has been a part of various incredible projects including Girls, High Maintenance, New Girl, Wayward Pines, Sisters, with particularly notable roles in Russian Doll (2019-2022) and The Morning Show (2019-Present).
Starring alongside her is Teo Yoo (Yoo Teo) as Hae Sung, who is unable to stop thinking about his childhood friend who he once fell in love with and decides to look for her. Yoo Teo’s portrayal makes this love immensely charming and moving, as he poses his long-held close-to-heart questions of the what-ifs of life and him and Nora in the other scenario. Yoo Teo might be a new name in Hollywood, but the actor has a long list of amazing filmography under his name. One series that brought him to prominence at an international level is Netflix’s recently released rom-com, Love To Hate You (2023), where he plays Nam Kang Ho, a popular actor known as the god of romance.
Joining Lee and Yoo, John Magaro plays Nora’s American husband Arthur, who, in his own words, jokingly mentions his presence in this equation saying “In the story, I would be the evil white American husband standing in the way of destiny.” His glum appearance, worries, and wariness give him a personality that could have been a bore to watch, but rather it tends to make him one of the most compassionate and gentle characters in this heartfelt venture. Magaro is a name known to many because of his various appearances in several big-budget and indie projects, including Carol, Sylvie’s Love, The Finest Hours, The Many Saints of Newark, Conviction, Law and Order, Orange Is the New Black, and The Umbrella Academy.
What’s the Plot of Past Lives About?
When will you finally meet your soul mate? Or have you met them and already been separated? These questions are repeatedly posed to our two main characters in Past Lives. Past Lives is slow and steady and existentially tormented by possibilities and Celine Song artfully deals with that subject. How every decision we make in life provides a pathway to the future, but while we’re young, we rarely realize how choosing one thing means being completely deprived of seeing how the other choice would have worked out. The unopened doors become more vivid in our memories as we age, serving as spectral reminders of the possible lives we could have had, the people we would have shaped to be, and the people who would have been with us on that journey.
Past Lives follows the story of two childhood friends, whose childhood dreams were of spending their lives together, but all such plans are interrupted when Nora relocates to Canada from South Korea. 20 years later, Nora has created a new life for herself, is settled and happy with a wonderful man, and is rediscovering love. But she will soon have to consider if humans are powerful enough to resist fate in light of Hae Sung’s return to her life. Although Past Lives has a stunningly fresh aesthetic, it still incorporates timeless concepts about fate and love and gives an introspective yet comprehensive view of how relations, both present and past, can upend our lives. Past Lives is a movie rife with what-ifs, the emotional exploration of lost love, the timeless “Am I enough?” question, and the acceptance of change that comes with time.
Here is the official synopsis:
Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are wrestled apart after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea. Two decades later, they are reunited in New York for one fateful week as they confront notions of destiny, love, and the choices that make a life, in this heartrending modern romance.