Where Asteroid City shines, where it is made masterpiece, is in its brief flashes of joy: a good picture, a milkshake, a song and dance, one more martini. Here is a life not perfect—soldiers wielding guns, no personal space, endless boredom—made enviable by one thing only: each other.
You get what you bring into Past Lives, a lush and dreamy new film and the directorial debut of playwright Celine Song—a story of love and loss and reconnection between childhood sweethearts across a quarter-century and two continents.
George Cukor's Holiday was neither the first nor last Hepburn and Grant pairing, but here it feels as if they're inventing a new type of relationship—one marked not only by fizzling flirtation or witty repartee, but also deeply infused with loss.
That so many of the films at the New York Film Festival this year focused on ugly and stressful subjects feels not like a demerit, but rather a catharsis—a healing that can only be done in a dark room, surrounded by others.
As I walked up the steps to the Walter Reade theater, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of triumph, my first day back on campus. Everyone was there! In line, tired, clutching cheap coffee and festival badges. Some people got haircuts. Even the grumps were buzzing, happy to finally have some place to be.