In “Past Lives,” Nora (Greta Lee) is a happily married woman living in Canada with her husband, Arthur (John Magaro). However, after reconnecting with her childhood friend Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) online, Nora finds herself in a complicated love triangle when Hae Sung suddenly leaves South Korea to visit her in person. “Childhood sweethearts who reconnect 20 years later and realize they were meant for each other. In the story, I would be the evil white American husband standing in the way of destiny,” Arthur says in the film’s trailer. Once Nora and Hae Sung reunite, the pair discuss their past and wonder what would have happened if Nora had never left South Korea. “Would we have dated? Broken up? Gotten married?” Hae Sung tells Nora. “Would we have had kids together?”
“Past Lives” is just the latest emotionally stirring film from production company A24, which is the same entertainment company behind Oscar-winning films like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “The Whale.” Although the romantic drama just released on June 2, it’s already being praised by film critics for its story, emotion, and chemistry between Lee and Yoo.
Of course, “Past Lives” is one of the many critically acclaimed films by A24. Check out 20 of the company’s best films below.
1. “Ex Machina” (2014)
A computer programmer named Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a content to spend a week at the luxurious home of his company’s CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac). When he arrives, he discovers the contest was actually a way to get one of Bateman’s employees to test his humanoid robot, Ava (Alicia Vikander), to see if she can pass for a real human.
2. “The Farewell” (2019)
Based on a true story, “The Farewell” is about a Chinese American family who choose not to tell their grandmother she only has a few months left to live after learning of her cancer diagnosis. In order to spend more time with her before she dies, the family reunite for a wedding in China, where they try their best to keep up their lie without their grandmother discovering the truth. While most of the family are able to keep quiet, Awkwafina’s character Billie’s guilt threatens to expose their secret.
3. “A Most Violent Year” (2014)
Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) owns a successful trucking company and believes in keeping his business fair and clean. However, when violence and corruption begin to rise in New York, those around him try to persuade Abel to get his hands dirty in order to keep his business from going under.
4. “The Lobster” (2016)
“The Lobster” is a dystopian film that takes place in a future where being a single adult can lead to arrest. Following a breakup, a person is given 45 days to find a new partner or risk being transformed into an animal and shunned by society.
5. “Moonlight” (2016)
“Moonlight” tells the story of a young Black man named Chiron (Trevante Rhodes), who, over the course of his life, learns to accept his gay identity. The film is divided into three parts as Chiron navigates his childhood, adolescence, and early adult years.
6. “Under the Skin” (2013)
In “Under the Skin,” Scarlett Johansson plays an alien who takes on the form of a human woman. As she travels around Glasgow, the woman seeks out vulnerable men to lure to their deaths.
7. “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” (2021)
“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” centers on an anthropomorphic shell named Marcel who lives with his grandmother Connie. After getting separated from the rest of his family, Marcel hopes to use the power of social media to reunite with his loved ones.
8. “The Florida Project” (2017)
“The Florida Project” centers on a 6-year-old girl named Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) who lives at a motel with her mother, Halley (Bria Vinaite), near Walt Disney World in Kissimmee, FL. While Halley struggles to make ends meet, Moonee gets into all sorts of mischief with the other children living at the motel.
9. “Lady Bird” (2017)
“Lady Bird” is a coming-of-age film about a high-school senior named Christine McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) who has a complicated relationship with her mother, Marion (Laurie Metcalf). Although they can never seem to agree on anything due to their “strong personalities,” the two care about each other deeply — they just have a hard time expressing it before Christine goes off to college.
10. “C’mon C’mon” (2021)
“C’mon C’mon” is a black-and-white film focusing on a radio journalist named Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) whose latest job assignment requires him to travel around the country to interview kids about their thoughts on the future. While doing so, he reconnects with his sister, Viv (Gaby Hoffmann), and bonds with his nephew, Jesse (Woody Norman).
11. “Hereditary” (2018)
After attending her mother Ellen’s funeral, Annie Graham (Toni Collette) and her family begin having supernatural encounters. When they discover that Ellen was part of a coven, they start to believe that everything that’s been happening to them lately is somehow connected to Annie’s late mother’s mysterious past.
12. “Uncut Gems” (2019)
Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a jeweler based in New York City who also has a gambling addiction. He’s always pushing his luck by making high-stakes bets, but his latest gamble just might threaten to ruin everything, including both his business and family.
13. “Midsommar” (2019)
Florence Pugh stars as a psychology student named Dani, who goes on a spontaneous trip to Sweden with her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), to experience a midsummer festival. After arriving, the couple realize they got more than they bargained for when they find themselves at the center of a sinister cult.
14. “Minari” (2020)
“Minari” centers on a Korean American family who move from California to Arkansas in hopes of achieving the American dream. Over the course of the film, they focus on leading their farm to success while not losing sight of what matters most: each other.
15. “X” (2022)
“X” is a slasher film starring Mia Goth as Maxine, a young woman who aspires to be an adult-film star. One day, she and her producer boyfriend, Wayne (Martin Henderson), bring a film crew to a secluded Texas farmhouse to make a pornographic film. However, when they’re caught by its elderly homeowners, Howard (Stephen Ure) and Pearl (also played by Goth), the group are suddenly thrust into a horrible nightmare.
16. “Pearl” (2022)
“Pearl” is a prequel to “X” that sees Goth return as a younger version of Pearl — the woman responsible for a series of killings on her family’s Texas farmhouse. Through her origin story, we learn about Pearl’s disturbing past and her desire for fame, which shaped her to become the iconic villain in “X.”
17. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (2022)
Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn Quan Wan, a Chinese American immigrant disillusioned with life who goes on an unexpected adventure to save the multiverse from destruction. During her journey, she must confront her outlook on life when parallel versions of herself reveal realities about what life would have looked like had she gone down a different path.
18. “Eighth Grade” (2018)
In this coming-of-age film directed by Bo Burnham, Elsie Fisher plays an eighth grader named Kayla Day who has social anxiety and struggles to make friends at school. After being voted the “Most Quiet” by her classmates, Kayla is determined to break out of her shell and let people know the real her before graduating middle school.
19. “The Whale” (2022)
In “The Whale,” Brendan Fraser plays an English teacher named Charlie who used binge eating to cope with the loss of his boyfriend, leading him to weigh over 600 pounds. Once his health further declines, Charlie seeks out his estranged daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink), in hopes of mending their relationship before it’s too late.
20. “Past Lives” (2023)
As kids living in South Korea, Nora and Hae Sung were inseparable. However, when Nora’s family suddenly moves to Canada, she and Hae Sung lose touch and don’t reconnect until 20 years later. Now, reunited as adults, the childhood friends wonder what their lives would have looked like if they’d continued to grow up together in Korea.