With the success of the Oscar winning ‘Parasite’ the doors have seemingly opened for non Hollywood films and Minari is one such film and much like last years Best Film Oscar winner this is centred on a family too. Written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung, Minari follows a Korean family headed up by Jacob (Steven Yeun) taking his wife and two young children from California to anew life in Arkansas in the early 80’s. Tired of working as a chicken sexer he wants to start his own farm selling Korean vegetables to a burgeoning community and proudly shows the plot of land that he has bought to his disappointed wife appalled that they will be living in a house on wheels in the field.
Resolute in his commitment Jacob slowly builds develops his farm with the help of a local man Paul (an almost unrecognisable Will Patton) a devout Christian man. At the same time Jacobs’s wife awaits the arrival of her mother Soonja (Youn Yuh-Jung) who will see her grandchildren for the first time. She is one of the many delights of the film. With no filter and only her own cultural social graces she is potty mouthed and works to her own moral compass in a manner not dissimilar to her four year old grandson David (Alan Kim) who asks the sort questions and states the sort of things that only a four year old would do. The arrival of a mother in law to live with them might be the cause of much friction but she doesn’t fall into that stereotypical ogre figure. Not all mother-in-laws do, my own for instance, is a martyr, despite having suffered from injuries she sustained on Guy Fawkes Night when she managed to escape from the top of the bonfire (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed)
It’s a low key drama of immigrants trying to make it in a new world with Jacob pursuing his dream and drawing us along with him wanting his Korean vegetable business to succeed even when there are moments he himself has his own doubts about whether it will be a success or if he’s putting his family and marriage in jeopardy. To that end the story encapsulates everyone’s life with ups and unforeseen downs with life turning on a cent when least expected.
Nuanced lead performances balanced by a wonderfully endearing turn by grandma and grandson as they all try to fit into their new surroundings whilst as the same time not wanting to forget their own cultural heritage. It’s a film packed with keenly observed small moments that reveal character. Minari has been produced by Brad Pitt’s own production company and as a producer his choice of films has been impressive with this being another exceptional addition to an already impressive rostra of films that have included Vice, If Beale Street Could Talk and Moonlight all of which have attracted Oscar glory. Minari promises to maintain that tradition
Here’s the Minari trailer……
WATCH MINARI AT HOME FROM 12th APRIL 2021 – TO LEARN MORE VISIT MINARI.FILM