Minari (2020)
February 23, 2021 1:42 PM - Subscribe

A Korean-American family moves to Arkansas in search of their own American Dream. With the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother, the stability of their relationships is challenged even more in this new life in the rugged Ozarks, testing the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Minari is a semi-autobiographical film written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung. Premiering at Sundance in 2020, where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, it was released digitally on February 12, 2021 via A24. Both the American Film Institute and National Board of Review named it among the ten best films of 2020. Despite being an American film, it was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Golden Globe Awards.

Trailer from A24

'Minari' Follows A Family's Immigration With Humor, Humanity And Hope - John Powers, NPR

‘Minari’ Review: Sinking Korean Roots in the Arkansas Soil - AO Scott, New York Times
posted by riruro (6 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I really enjoyed this film. The performances are all great, very natural and lived-in. Great production design and cinematography too.

I feel like the pull-quotes in the trailer oversold the emotional power of this though. It was an excellent, small-scope film but I didn't find it "stunning" or" staggering." I can see why the trailers used those quotes, but I feel like they set me up for a bit of an anti-climax in terms of what the film actually was. I consider that a marketing failure, not a failure of the film though.

I would have liked the daughter to get more development/screen time, and I would have liked to see some more movement toward each other's positions in Jacob and Monica's relationship - the reconciliation happened way too fast and seemed like an afterthought.

Minor quibbles though. Definitely worth seeing. There have been a lot of wonderful, intimate indie films coming out, and I'm really happy to see it. The great Hollywood Covid-Pause is letting some sunlight get down to the understory and I couldn't be happier about that.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:05 PM on February 25, 2021 [4 favorites]

Really lovely, gentle film. It did veer into the sentimentality zone now and then, but fortunately not too far. Yuh-Jung Youn was an absolute scene stealer - I was very unsurprised to learn she's a very big deal in South Korean film. But everyone was great. Agree the daughter's plight as the good girl child of immigrants with too much responsibility and burdensome gendered expectations could have been developed more, but we did definitely get the message, and some good and small scenes conveying her experience. The 80s sets and costumes were excellent and the landscape very beautiful. Made you feel the draw of this agricultural life.
posted by latkes at 6:40 PM on February 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

A nice profile of Youn Yuh-jung in Vulture.
posted by latkes at 2:04 PM on March 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

Minari was beautiful and gentle, but also somehow very raw, particularly the relationship between Monica and David. At the beginning of the film they seemed held together only by circumstance and the fact that separating would be another bit of labour that they didn't have the energy for. But throughout the film they were able to keep making small gestures towards each other, and even though they were often rebuffed, it showed there was a real bond of love beneath everything. I adored Yeri Han in this and I wish she'd gotten some more recognition for her role.
posted by Rora at 7:32 PM on April 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

Finally got round to seeing this. Really enjoyed this for the most part, I thought the performances were great and the story engaging. I was initially put off by the obvious tragic nature of the story, as the farm seemed obviously doomed to fail, but the story introduced enough nuance and sympathy to all the characters to bring me along.

That said, the ending felt tonally at odds with the rest of the film to me. The fire felt like a "big" ending in a film that had felt naturalistic up to that point. The timing, and the fact that it destroyed the entire supply of crops. As such, the two short scenes afterwards didnt feel much like closure, and i ended up feeling a bit dissatisfied despite enjoying the film up to that point
posted by Cannon Fodder at 11:37 PM on May 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

As it started up I kept feeling this ache in my heart that was left by Jean de Florette.
posted by fleacircus at 10:50 PM on May 20, 2021

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