“Past Lives” Reminds Us of the Power of the Present

Andrew Greene
1 min readFeb 1, 2024

“It’s true that if you leave you lose things, but you also gain things, too.”

Past Lives is a wonderfully wistful film that knows the best romances are the unrequited ones; the far-off, far-flung, timeless trysts imbued with sadness, those what-if’s that linger in heavy silence.

Indeed, the fantasy, that moment before the kiss, or the life lived instead of the kiss, often has more power than reality. This often gets me in trouble (anxious attachment + magical thinking = saying stupid shit). But this film reminds me that there’s room for all kinds of love. In the past, present, future, and in the lives not lived that play out in stories.

As someone who has left many places and even overheard himself referred to as “the one who left” by hometown pals, I’ve spent many sleepless nights thinking about people I no longer share the same city with, those I could’ve gotten to know better, a confusing mélange of shame, guilt and fantasy.

But in addition to romanticizing the sadness of lives unlived, this movie also magnifies the beauty of the loves we do live.

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Andrew Greene

Writer, director. Creator of The Naked Man Podcast. Human sampler tray following breadcrumbs, forever hungry. @WanderingGreene on IG, Letterboxd & Twitter