Past Lives: how to watch, awards, reviews and everything we know about the movie

Greta Lee and Teo Yoo sitting on a ferry in Past Lives
Greta Lee and Teo Yoo in Past Lives (Image credit: Jon Pack/A24)

Launching at the Sundance Film Festival, Past Lives has gone on to be widely considered as one of the best new movies of 2023.

Beyond its Sundance cred, Past Lives is an A24 movie, a popular film studio that has made buzzy hits, which in 2022 included Everything Everywhere All at Once, X and Pearl, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, Aftersun, Causeway, The Inspection and The Whale. Past Lives is part of another big year in 2023 that has included Beau is Afraid, You Hurt My Feelings, Talk to Me and more.

Here is everything you need to know about Past Lives, including where you can watch it, who's in it, reviews and the end-of-year awards that it is up for.

How to watch Past Lives

Past Lives is now available to watch at home via streaming, digital on-demand and with a good old fashioned DVD. For complete details, check out our dedicated how to watch Past Lives post.

Past Lives plot

Ready for some heartbreak, because Past Lives is a romantic drama that reunites two people who lost their chance at love many years ago. 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."

If you have seen the movie but want some more insight into its ending, check out our Past Lives ending explained piece.

Past Lives trailer

Watch the Past Lives trailer right here:

Past Lives cast

As one-half of the star-crossed lovers in Past Lives, Greta Lee plays Nora. While Lee may not be an overly familiar name with a lot of audiences, you've probably seen her before. Lee's credits include multiple episodes of TV shows like Girls, New Girl, Wayward Pines, Inside Amy Schumer, Chance, The Good Fight, Miracle Workers, Russian Doll and The Morning Show.

Playing Hae Sung is Teo Yoo. Past Lives is one of his big US movies, but for anyone who saw the 2022 sleeper hit Decision to Leave, he played the character of Lee June in that movie.

Complicating things for Nora and Hae Sung is Nora's husband, Arthur, who is played by John Magaro. Magaro's movie credits include big-budget and indie movies alike, including Unbroken, Carol, The Big Short, Overlord, First Cow and The Many Saints of Newark. He's also been a part of some well-known TV shows, including Orange Is the New Black and The Umbrella Academy.

Past Lives reviews — what the critics are saying

Past Lives is one of the best reviewed movies of the year, according to Rotten Tomatoes. It is "Certified Fresh" with 98% positive reviews. Read What to Watch's Past Lives review to see where we fall on the movie.

Past Lives awards

We will be keeping track of the major end-of-the-year nominations and awards that Past Lives racks up. Here is what the movie has pulled in so far:


  • Best Picture (nominee)
  • Best Original Screenplay (nominee)

BAFTA Film Awards

  • Best Leading Actor — Teo Yoo (nominee)
  • Best Original Screenplay (nominee)
  • Best Film Not in the English Language (nominee)

Golden Globes

  • Best Motion Picture Drama (nominee)
  • Best Motion Picture Non-English Language (nominee)
  • Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Motion Picture Drama — Greta Lee (nominee)
  • Best Director — Celine Song (nominee)
  • Best Screenplay (nominee)

American Film Institute

  • Top 10 Motion Picture of the Year

Critics Choice Awards

  • Best Picture (nominee)
  • Best Actress — Greta Lee (nominee)
  • Best Original Screenplay (nominee)

Film Independent Spirit Awards

  • Best Feature (winner)
  • Best Director — Celine Song (winner)
  • Best Screenplay — Celine Song (nominee)
  • Best Lead Performance — Greta Lee (nominee)
  • Best Lead Performance — Teo Yee (nominee)

Gotham Awards

  • Best Feature (winner)
  • Outstanding Lead Performance — Greta Lee (nominee)
  • Breakthrough Director — Celine Song (nominee)

London Critics' Circle Awards

  • Film of the Year (nominee)
  • Foreign Language Film of the Year (nominee)
  • Screenwriter of the Year — Celine Song (nominee)
  • Actress of the Year — Greta Lee (nominee)
  • Breakthrough Performer of the Year — Greta Lee (nominee)
  • Technical Achievement Award — Cinematography (nominee)

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards

  • New Generation Award — Celine Song (winner)

National Board of Review

  • Best Directorial Debut — Celine Song (winner)
  • Top 10 Films of the Year

New York Film Critics Awards

  • Best First Film — Celine Song (winner)

How long is Past Lives?

The Past Lives runtime is one hour and 46 minutes.

What is Past Lives rated?

Past Lives is rated PG-13 in the US for "some strong language."

Past Lives director

Past Lives is the feature directorial debut of Celine Song. Song has a background in theater and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and a semifinalist for the American Playwriting Foundation's Relentless Award.

Her lone screen credit before Past Lives was as a staff writer on the Prime Video series Wheel of Time.

Past Lives poster

(Image credit: Zoey Kang/A24)
Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.