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“Minari” Review

The A24 film Minari came out this past year during one of the most difficult times for releasing films. Nevertheless, the film transcends from the screen and touches our hearts as a cherished family film during a rough time we find ourselves and our family in. Directed by the American filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung, Minari shares a story of a Korean American family moving to Arkansas intending to start a farm, and the struggles they come across in this new state while trying to attain that American dream.

The film was based on some of Chung’s experiences when he was young, and the film takes place in the 1980s in rural Arkansas near the Ozarks. With a wide array of cast members, such as the father who was played by Steven Yeun, known for his role as Glenn in The Walking Dead. Jacob initiated the family to move as he wanted to give his family a better life somewhere else in America. 

As they settle they find out that the previous owner of the farmland did not have too much success, only to show that Jacob will struggle to help his family. Jacob and his wife Monica have two children, Anne and David. Both children had no problem with the change of location or the trailer home they find themselves in now, however, Monica is having a hard time adjusting and leads to problems with Jacob’s selfishness. David is the youngest and has a pre-existing condition involving his heart. The film follows this story with David not being able to run like all the other kids because of worries of his condition worsening. Both Anne and David are in a new state and surrounded by new neighbors that are odd but that only shows the innocence of both children.

The family meets a whole bunch of Arkansas locals many of whom are at the church the family goes to. There are some other oddball characters like a family friend that they meet who helps Jacob with his farming. 

Minari has achieved plenty of awards since its release date with already a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. At the Golden Globes on February 28, it won Best Motion Picture, Foreign Language. In his acceptance speech, Chung adds “Minari is about a family. It’s about a family trying to learn how to speak a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American or foreign language- it’s a language of the heart. Along with its success Alan Kim who plays David won Best Young Actor at the Critics Choice awards, and his speech is wholesome and priceless. Sadly Minari is only available to rent and is not streaming on any services.

The Boston Globe wrote, “It will break your heart only to piece it back together stronger than before.” This quote does a great job of capturing the essence of Chung’s childhood through the shots of Minari. As I have mentioned before this film is about a family trying to attain the American dream for the children’s future. It becomes clear that family and having those who love you through the hardest times conquers any desire and is the only thing that matters at the moment.


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