Netflix will add a 2024 Best Picture nominee to the service on February 15th. Past Lives is a incredible romantic drama that you have to watch this Valentine's weekend.
It often feels like with movies these days, unless you're saving the galaxy, stopping an ultimate evil or are a plastic doll (hi Barbie!) you won't get any attention. Having said that, the Oscars this year have seen fit to bestow a massive honour on a refreshingly personal film. The semi-autobiographical Past Lives is up for Best Picture no less.
You won't find any existential threats here, but the stakes are just as high. We're talking about love, and it's coming to Netflix this week. While it won't be arriving until the day after Valentine's Day (the 15th), this is a great option for a Valentine's weekend night in.
Written and directed (in her debut in the chair) by Celine Song this is a classic story of the one that got away across three time periods. Starting with leads Na Young (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) as schoolchildren experiencing their first crush on each other, she then moves away, not just to a different school, but to Toronto.
We then cut to twelve years later with Na now going by Nora and living in New York. This name change keeps them from finding each other until they reconnect via social media. But in all too relatable fashion, life finds a way of keeping them apart. Jump forward another dozen years and Hae Sung is finally in New York... hooray right? Well, Nora is now married and what looked like an inseparable bond has now become a love triangle. Is Nora even the same person? Is Hae Sung?
What could have been a classic rom-com setup is treated with much more tenderness. Yes, there are some laughs in this story, but romantic drama is a more appropriate label. There's absolutely no shame in shedding a few tears. It reminds me of another superb movie, Lost in Translation, showing a more nuanced love story than sweeping gestures and cliches. Similarly for Hae Sung, Nora is the only slice of home in a city he has never visited before, much like Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson cling to each other in that movie.
But don't take my word for it, with a Best Picture nomination and 96% on Rotten Tomatoes everyone can see this film's quality, and it's worth snuggling up in front of the TV with this Valentine's weekend.