Past Lives is not Earth shaking but it is nice.
The quiet and comfortable journey is well written and directed by Celine Song, who moves the characters through a period of 25 years in the lives of Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo).
Beginning as children the two become friends who play together, walk together and share their childhood time. Movement of time and careers move the two apart and we are reintroduce to them twelve years later. Nora moves to New York City and is a writer Hae Sung is headed to China for language experience. She has found him on Skype but neither is in a position to change their direction.
Twelve years later Nora has met Arthur (John Magaro) and describes the Korean concept of in-yeon to him. It means if one meets someone, even briefly it means they have met in a past life, and for lovers they have meet over and over again through time.
Hae Sung visits New York and interacts with Nora and her husband Arthur and the heart of the heart of the film is the time the three spend together. The film begins and ends at an evening dinner in New York with the three attempting to communicate, but Nora and Hae have a language they share and the dinner becomes their event.
The strength of the adhesive between Hae and Nora is obvious it has lasted 25 years even when they were apart, it leads to the conclusion they will meet again in their next life. The end places them in this present life (somewhat like the main characters in the film La La Land).
Director Celine Song carries the story quietly and evenly and doesn’t reach for a sudden or spectacular ending. She just brings us to know threse characters who are worthy as the film ends.