Past Lives Aftermath

Acin Aulia
2 min readJun 3, 2024
Past Lives (2023)
Past Lives (2023)

These paragraphs have been in my draft since I watched Past Lives last year, a film that left me with a whirlwind of emotions. I often struggle to articulate my thoughts, especially to those I deeply wish to communicate with. Earlier this year, a lot happened. I decided to pour everything out and be honest through this.

Everyone reacts differently to Past Lives. Its slow-burning, quiet dialogue evokes a range of emotions. Some fell asleep, others cried, and a few laughed. I was captivated, thanks to Celine Song’s direction. My chest tightened as I watched Nora walk home at the film’s end, a scene heavy with unspoken emotions and unresolved ‘what ifs.’ The pain of relationships ending before they truly began lingered with me.

Reflecting on my own ‘what ifs,’ I decided not to let them overwhelm me. Instead, I acknowledge my thoughts and feelings without rejecting them.

I thought about closure and admire those who seek it, especially women. However, for me, it feels like a daunting decision. I’ve considered being honest about my feelings but lack the courage. Maybe it’s a trauma from my past relationships, where I received the silent treatment a lot and yet still got no answers to my questions. It’s not like I’m the main character in some dramedy who always says everything bluntly, cries out loud and gets the happiest goofy ending.

Heesung’s bravery and foolishness struck me when he came to Nora late, seeking reassurance. His words,

“I liked you for who you are, and who you are is a person who leaves”

If you had never left Seoul, would I still have looked for you?

Because of his foolishness, audiences are the ones who suffer, and made me reflect on my unresolved feelings. I remember the small, unnoticed moments that made us close. I just feel like we’re over it, befriended it, and we’re closer than anyone in our circle, it’s always a quick ‘yes’ when just the two of us. But we never actually talk about it. I just buried my feelings in the past without knowing what was in each other’s thoughts.

I read some interesting monologues on The Conversation on Love by Natasha Lunn. The idea of how you can love others and the world without wishing for something you lack resonated with me. By exploring your inner self until you discover an exciting life purpose, rather than longing, you can channel your efforts into uncovering the love already around you, allowing it to flourish.

I know this writing doesn’t help me resolve my feelings, but at least, I expressed it beautifully, right? In the end, I hope we all find the courage to honestly express our emotions without fear of getting hurt.