A Korean family look to start to a farm in the 1980s in Arkansas, a dream of Jacob Yi’s to really be able to provide for them and be his own boss. His very own American Dream!
Minari is an emotional rollercoaster with the family as we get to know Jacob, his wife Monica and children Anne and David. How the way they moved to Arkansas was actually tearing them all apart, even though Monica could not work in the chicken sorting factory (I have no clue on the act name of this) which was literally a job where they would check the sex of the chickens, separating the male and females. She had not been quick enough for this role in California. In order to have someone care for the children they must get Grandma Soonja to live with them, much to the dismay of David when he has to share a room with her.
Considering the family are Korean-American with David and Anne having more American traits now given the time they have lived in the USA. We are shown more of the relationship between David and his father to begin with but as Jacob becomes obsessed with his farm and ensuring they can grow fruit and vegetables on the 50 acre land it was never going to be easy. The cost of all of this could easily leave them in financial ruin, especially when it comes for the water payments.
David is rather mischievous and wants nothing more to explore, the arrival of his Grandma was not welcomed, mainly because she does not behave in the way that is expected. Given his quite frankly awful trick with the Mountain Dew and wee it shows how much he was acting out. Although after that moment and a few more scenes they seem to bound a little bit more. The characters are all quite complex and we see as the family attempt to adapt to the town and begin to attend the local church and therefore make friends with local people. Paul is working with Jacob on the farm but his church ritual each Sunday was a little bit different to others.
Minari hits a point where you truly wonder if things can actually get any worse, as everything seems to be against the family as Jacob and Monica argue and debate whether they can actually be together anymore. Given the health issues that David was possibly facing as well living somewhere in the middle of nowhere was not idea. Then even more so with Grandma and her health issue, have to admit that moment totally caught me off guard.
Alan S. Kim was the ultimate scene stealer in this film and easily one of the best child performances I have ever seen! I was blown away by him constantly and that is one reason alone to make sure you watch this film. Steven Yeun is very engaging in the leading role as well, but Kim really does steal each and every scene. Yuh-Jung Youn is brilliant as well and given some very amusing moments as well as heartbreaking managing to pull them all off so effortlessly. Yeri Han and Noel Cho both making up the main part of the cast and have some inspiring moments, especially Han who goes through a wide range of emotions. Will Patton deserves a mention as well, I honestly didn’t even recognise him to begin with!
Nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Actor in the Leading Role and Actress in a Supporting Role.