5 Films to Watch If You Loved Past Lives

Don't forget to bring tissues.

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Past Lives
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Some of the greatest films in the history of cinema are capable of making us feel both great pain and great joy all at once. Celine Song’s superb romantic drama Past Lives does just that, succeeding in capturing feelings of longing alongside the bittersweet gratitude for a moment of profound connection with another human being.

If your heart needs another dose of melancholic joy after seeing Past Lives, make sure you check out the brilliant films below. Each film shares a kinship in some way with Past Lives, and is guaranteed to leave you feeling tender, heartbroken, and alive.

The ‘Before’ Trilogy

One of the most obvious entries is the Before trilogy by acclaimed director Richard Linklater. Filmed over the course of 18 years, the trilogy starts with Before Sunrise (1995), followed by Before Sunset (2004), and concludes with Before Midnight (2013). The films tell the story of Céline (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke), who first meet on a train going from Budapest to Vienna and wind up spending the whole night walking, talking, and falling in love. The films centre completely around the dialogue between Céline and Jesse as they share their innermost vulnerabilities, hopes, and desires, and — similar to Past Lives — the films succeed at being both deeply relatable and captivating all at once.

Where to watch: The Before trilogy is available to rent on Apple TV and other platforms.

In the Mood for Love

Legendary Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s beautifully devastating romantic drama In the Mood for Love continues to be one of the most devastating descriptions of longing ever committed to film. Set in British Hong Kong in the 1960s, In the Mood for Love tells the story of journalist Chow Mo-wan and secretary Su Li-zhen, who form a connection after suspecting their partners are having an affair together. As their bond subtly begins to grow and transform, the two must decide if they will conform to societal morals or try to break free. As with Past Lives, In the Mood for Love is able to convey deep longing and internal turmoil, as well as the beauty of finding connection.

Where to watch: In the Mood for Love is currently unavailable to stream. Click on the link to the film for more up to date information.

Call Me By Your Name

This exhilarating story of love and learning touches on all the subtler aspects of a great coming-of-age film, and succeeds in conveying both the beauty and pain of first love. Director Luca Guadagnino directs the story of a summer in 1983 in northern Italy, where the moody and reclusive 17-year-old Elio is spending the season with his mother and archeology professor father. When his father’s research assistant, a 24-year-old graduate student named Oliver, comes to stay, Elio finds himself both drawn to and wary of the new addition. As the push and pull dynamic buds into something more, Call Me by Your Name reveals itself to be both a heart wrenching romance and a universal lesson in self-compassion.

Where to watch: Call Me By Your Name is available on Sky Go, NOW TV Cinema, and to rent on Apple TV.

When Harry Met Sally

Known as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) romantic comedies of all time, When Harry Met Sally continues to earn its status through a mixture of typical rom-com tropes and more realistic elements like right timing and personal growth. When Harry (Billy Crystal) and Sally (Meg Ryan) first meet, they can barely stand each other, and part ways as soon as they finish the car journey from Chicago to New York City. They go years without seeing one another until they reconnect by chance. Only after several more years are they in a place to foster first a close friendship, before finally progressing to a real relationship. While When Harry Met Sally is a rom-com and Past Lives is a romantic drama, the films both share a dedication to understanding how the passage of time affects our most precious relationships, and allows them to progress in different and unexpected ways.

Where to watch: When Harry Met Sally is available to rent on Apple TV and other platforms.


This utter heartbreaker starring Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy takes a spot on this list for its depictions of unrequited love and missed opportunities. The film is based on Ian McEwan’s book of the same name, and takes place between World Wars in 1935. The film tells the story of Briony Tallis, a 13-year-old growing up in a large estate owned by her wealthy family. Due to her jealousy and confusion over her older sister Cecilia’s budding relationship with Robbie, the housekeeper’s son, Briony plays a key role in Robbie’s conviction for a crime of which he was innocent — a move that irrevocably changes the course of their love forever. Although Atonement is far more devastating in tone than Past Lives, the persistent question of ‘what if?' pervades both storylines.

Where to watch: Atonement is available to stream on ITVX, and to rent on Apple TV and other platforms.

For more information about the Past Lives production, cast, and creators, check out our detail page.

Past Lives arrives in cinemas in the UK on September 8, 2023.