Someone Explain the Ending of the Movie Past Lives to me!

Someone Explain the Ending of the Movie Past Lives to me!
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Someone Explain the Ending of the Movie Past Lives to me! It’s no secret that I adore the Before Sunrise trilogy. I find dialogue king above all else, and in a world where two individuals spar both emotionally, intellectually, while leaving room for the potential for a romantic connection? Magical. Similarly, Past Lives is not just a movie; it’s a poetic journey through time, love, and the bewildering wonders of the universe. Which sounds really horrible when I read that back to myself. But trust me when I tell you that Past Lives rings with such pure clarity as to make you question what movies really are for, what their purpose might be. After all, what else would you expect from an A24 movie?

A Film with Noble Lineage

Past Lives is set among the bustling streets of Seoul to the concrete jungle of New York City, it will take you on a scenic route of emotions. It’s like a road trip for your soul, with pit stops at heartbreak, laughter, and a healthy dose of contemplation. The movie spans 24 years, as we duck and weave the passage of time. It’s an interesting question… can love not only conquer distance, but time. The basics of the story is simple enough, Greta Lee (Na Young) and Teo Yoo (Hae Sung) are the best of friends growing up, but Lee’s family are immigrating to Toronto. Years later, the two look each other up, and the tension of their past relationship is off to the races. The chemistry between Lee and Yoo is so palpable; I could almost feel the sparks through the screen. It’s like watching two old friends rekindle a flame that never truly died. The way they navigate their complex online relationship is both intense and relatable.

Past Lives doesn’t rush its narrative. It’s a slow dance between destiny and desire, reminiscent of classics like Before Sunrise and Columbus. I half-expected Nora Ephron to pop up and give relationship advice, but Song’s touch is uniquely hers. The film delicately balances the tension of platonic romance, the impact of technology, and the timeless theme of unrequited love.

And can we talk about the visuals? “Past Lives” is a visual feast, capturing the essence of each moment with the finesse of an artist painting emotions on a canvas. The cinematography is so on point; I felt like I was getting relationship advice from a wise old friend who’s been through it all.

The What of Past Lives

Past Lives kicks off in Seoul, South Korea, introducing us to Na Young and Hae Sung, two childhood pals who are about as cute as a bag of puppies. They share a brief, innocent romance as 12-year-olds, complete with a parent-arranged date. However, life happens, and Na Young’s family immigrates to Toronto, breaking the young lovebirds apart. Fast forward 12 years, and Hae Sung is fresh out of the military, while Na Young, now Nora Moon, is navigating the concrete jungle of New York City.

The movie takes a leisurely stroll through the next 12 years of Na Young and Hae Sung’s lives. They reconnect through the wonders of social media, sharing virtual glimpses into their worlds. The film deftly explores the intricacies of modern relationships – the long-distance struggles, the missed connections, and the emotional roller-coaster that is online romance. Nora, now a playwright, has her fair share of personal and professional ups and downs, while Hae Sung juggles engineering, military service, and language exchange programs in China.

In the final act, “Past Lives” orchestrates the long-awaited reunion between Na Young, now known as Nora, and Hae Sung. Their meeting after two decades is charged with a mix of excitement, nostalgia, and a dash of awkwardness. The film adeptly captures the unspoken tension and unanswered questions that have lingered since their youthful romance was abruptly interrupted by geography and circumstance. The passage of time has sculpted them into different versions of their former selves, adding layers to the emotional landscape.

The narrative crescendo unfolds in an intimate dinner setting, where the characters gather to confront the ghosts of their shared past. Arthur Zaturansky, the unexpected third member in this emotional triangle, adds a poignant layer to the scene. As the trio engages in heartfelt conversations, the film delves into the complexities of their interconnected lives. The dialogue becomes a dance of emotions, with Nora and Hae Sung wrestling with unspoken desires and the haunting “what ifs.” The climax reaches its emotional peak as the characters navigate the delicate balance between past and present, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats. The film concludes with a bittersweet farewell, leaving a lasting impression of a love story eternally suspended in the realms of “almost” and “maybe.”

Past Lives Movie Explanation: Navigating Love Across Lifetimes

There are several ways in which to interpret the movie Past Lives. At first glance, the Past Lives movie is REALLY simple. It’s two people colliding, connecting, disconnecting, and reconnecting again. Simple. Done. Near misses and connections. Finished. We all have relationships in our lives like that. Whether friends or past love interests.

But what if you want to REALLY understand what is going on here? Let’s go a step deeper, shall we?

The key to really unlocking the film’s meaning is the concept of “in-yun”… it’s a topic that was broached at the opening of the film. When learning how to interpret movies you need to first understand that while the running time of a movie seems long, from a screenplay standpoint its extraordinarily short, and every single line, every single comment or shot will always be on point. (I mean, unless the movie is awful, and about nothing… BUT GENERALLY SPEAKING.)

So what is in-yun? It’s a Korean idea rooted in Buddhism and rebirth. In-yun holds that all the people in our lives are interconnected through a series of interactions both in this life, and also past lives. Think of it as roots of a tree spreading downward and expanding through layer after layer of strata of earth. Similarly, in-yun connects us to, and reconnects us through, all the people that matter in our lives. And it is in the idea of an in-yun connection that these hardening or resolving connections resolve into a marriage, or into a fulfilling love interest. It’s the idea that countless lifetimes of connections converging into our current life today.

So, reconsidering the movie through the idea of in-yun, you’ll see that while the two kicked off inseparably lives together, they are pulled apart by Na’s parents moving their family to Canada. And while the duo continue their lives in separate directions, the duo keep getting pulled back together through this idea of in-yun. As the two old friends reconnect via social media and Skype calls, eventually Nora decides that impracticality of it all is just too much. A long distance relationship is too large a chasm to overcome.

As a result, Nora finds a new connection, a new solace, in the arms of Arthur Zaturansky. They get married, and they share a life together in New York. But, out of the blue, Hae Sung decides… Heck – I think New York sounds fun! And just like that, he upends the delicate balance of Nora’s life. Now, think back to the movie’s opening… we lead with this moment of the threesome in a bar. And Nora turns, breaks the third wall, and stares straight out at us in the audience. Why? Well, all of these unspoken emotions are bouncing around in the air. And while he happens to be geographically close, he is philosophically, or strategically (for lack of a better word) extraordinarily far away. With that, Hae leaves, and it leaves Nora shattered. She is torn between the happiness of her life with Arthur in New York, and the just too far away echoes of a past that can never be fully realized.

Some Explain the Ending of the Movie Past Lives to Me

The film’s enigmatic ending encapsulates the essence of in-yun, suggesting that while the present circumstances may not allow Nora and Hae Sung to be together, their connection transcends the boundaries of a single lifetime. Nora’s tears become a poignant expression of the complexities of identity, mirrored in her dual existence as Na Young and Nora, embodying the unspoken grief of a life reshaped by circumstance. “Past Lives” invites viewers to ponder the ineffable nature of love and connection, beautifully encapsulated in the delicate dance of relationships across time.

Final Thoughts on the Film Past Lives

This A24 missive is a contemplative affair similar in form and function to Before Sunrise. But how similar can it really be? I found the dialogue to be cute and affecting, heartfelt even, but it wasn’t as cleverly poignant as the Before Series. Not even close. But that wasn’t its goal or purpose… dialogue for cleverness wasn’t its end. It was more so the dance of emotions and potential loss. Song has crafted a timeless romance that echoes the sentiment of an era while carving its own unique space in the vast landscape of love stories.

Past Lives is not just a movie; it’s a poetic meditation on love, time, and the inexplicable forces that bind us together. And whether you choose to view it as a near miss quasi-love story, or a deeper web of in-yun connections that will possibly culminate in the next life, you’ll agree that is a glorious slow burn of a movie, a lingering melody… a film to bask in. It’s not a film that you gulp down and then forget.

Personally? I’m busy scooping up pretty much anything Greta Lee is in – currently I’ve been watching The Morning Show with my wife, and we really enjoyed season one. It’s up there with the greats of TV: Mr. Robot Season 1 (or 4, I won’t squabble), The Bear Season 1 (or 2), True Detective Season 1. Regardless, I also loved Russian Doll. But it was fantastic to see Greta Lee just illuminate the screen throughout this film… from start to finish.