Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Writer: Lee Isaac Chung (Screenplay)
Starring: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Youn Yuh-jung, Alan S Kim, Noel Cho, Will Patton, Scott Haze
Plot: A Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s.
Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Minari starts when a Korean family, Jacob (Yeun), Monica (Han), Anne (Cho) and little David (Kim) move to Arkansas to give Jacob the land for a garden he desperately wants and letting Monica keep up with the demands on the work, moving at slower pace.
When Grandma Soonja (Yuh-jung) comes to live with the family she offers babysitting options, as she starts to get closer to the nervous David, the youngest member who is worried about his heart condition, while Jacob tries to hold together the American dream.
Thoughts on Minari
Characters & Performances – Jacob is the husband and father looking to chase the American dream for his family, dreaming of having land for a garden, which his hard work has built for him. He has put his family at risk with his choice though, knowing if things don’t go well they might not have much to recover with, as he starts to see the problems add up. Steven Yeun is wonderful in the leading role, showing us the loving father who is so desperate to make this life work. Monica is the wife and mother that has agreed to the move to help her keep up at work, but her main focus is just making sure her David remains healthy no matter what, she isn’t afraid to challenge Jacob’s decisions. Yeri Han does give us a great performance in a role that is the more grounded character of the two parents. Soonja is Grandma who comes to live with the family, she must earn David’s trust, which does take longer than normal, but her patient nature helps build the trust, as she looks to give him the best. Youn Yuh-jung is great with the way she handles the more grown up moments with the adults and the entertaining the grandchildren the next. David is the youngest child who does have a heart condition which is the biggest worry of the parents. He is not that welcoming to his grandma, but learns to enjoy having her around. Alan S Kim is the star of the show here, giving us one of the greatest child star performances. The rest of the supporting cast are brilliant to watch, being one of the best acted movies of the year.
Story – The story here follows a Korean family that are looking to start the American dream in Arkansas one that Jacob has dreamed of for years but his wife Monica is starting to become worried about making a reality. This is a nice and simple drama about chasing the dream of a better life for one’s family, it shows us not just the distance they have travelled, but the hope it has given them. It will show the importance of family and being together in such a difficult movement and best of all it avoids the easy villainous figures trying to hold back the dream, it is only the struggles, not anyone holding them back.
Themes – Minari is a drama showing the family starting a new life in Arkansas, with their beautiful landscapes of the new land, away from everyone else. We do get to look at the importance of family when making big life changes.
MINARI will be available on demand from 2nd April 2021.