Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Head and Heart in the Same Place: Past Lives Movie Review

Larissa Lopez
“Past Lives” is available for streaming now on Paramount+ and covers themes of nostalgia and love.

In-Yun, meaning “providence” or “fate”, it’s the belief that the interactions we have with others is the result of our interactions done in our past lives. This could start from clothes of each other brushing when walking streets to intimate relationships of platonic or romantic context. One of the most popular beliefs is that if two people get married, its because there have been 8000 layers of In-Yun over 8000 lifetimes.

“Past Lives”, the directorial debut of Celine Song mentions this belief multiple times throughout the movie, as the main topic is the love between our protagonist and a childhood friend, where it always seems like time and circumstances are fighting against what could have been. The meaning of In-Yun is applied to this relationship as both characters believe that their love is going to flourish in a future life, where they will have reached these 8000 layers.

Our protagonist Nora, played by the talented Greta Lee, moves away from her home country South Korea leaving her best friend Hae Sung back home while she went to Canada and later USA to study for her university degree. They are able to reconnect multiple times throughout the film, first as university students that would talk only through videocall and would develop an important relationship between each other, realizing that their friendship from their childhood did not deteriorate and could eventually turn into something more.

There is another break of time in this relationship, as both characters realize that their lives are too busy for any of them to visit the other one. Time and distance were the barrier that stopped what could have been, and even though they both have extreme feelings for one another, there is a sense of reality where both characters choose their own academic or personal success, and that not everything can be however we want it to be.

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Later, they are able to reconnect as adults with our protagonist even having a partner. This part of the movie is easily the most soul-crushing, as we see that even though Nora loves and respects her current relationship, the visit of this childhood friend makes her incredibly nostalgic, as well as Hae Sung realizing that he indeed loves her and wished he could have been with her.

Both characters are not shown as villains of any kind, as if done incorrectly they could have seemed to be cheaters or homewreckers to the audience. There is a clear show of the importance of our current relationships, and that just because there is an older connection between people it does not make it worth more or less. But it also delves into how people from the past can still have importance for us, and are able to bring a distant version of ourselves.

The realization that we are not owed any relationship because we really want it is a tough pill to swallow for most people, but our characters show an amazing emotional intelligence with their only meetup being a time to catch up and wonder about each other’s lives, ending up in an incredible story of melancholy and nostalgia.

“Past Lives” is available for streaming now in Paramount+.

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About the Contributor
Larissa Lopez
Larissa Lopez, Photographer
Larissa Lopez (she/her/hers) is currently a photographer at The Winonan.
Larissa is an international student from Santa Cruz, Bolivia and is a second-year student at Winona State University in the major of Finance. She loves experimenting with the different activities offered on campus, and visiting as many places as possible. She hopes as a photographer, to be able to experience more events and portray them.
Larissa’s hobbies include watching films of any genre, making traditional and digital art, listening to music and biking around Winona.

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