TL;DR – It captures a snapshot of a life so perfectly that it is almost difficult to watch sometimes because you feel like a voyeur eavesdropping on someone else’s life.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Stan subscription that viewed this movie.
Minari Review –
Some films you can tell are works of personal nature because of the breath intimacy at every turn. You feel it in the story, the world, and the characters. This makes it a more intimate film, but it also can be more challenging to watch. Today we look at a movie that might be the most personal film I have ever seen that wasn’t a direct autobiography.
So to set the scene, in the 1980s, the Yi family make the trek inland from California to Arkansas. Jacob (Steven Yeun) picked the house because of the land, but his wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) is less than impressed that Jacob bought a trailer and not a house. Jacob wants the land to be a farmer to grow Korean crops for the diaspora, while Monica is fearful that they are too far away from the cities as their son David (Alan Kim) has a heart problem. Things get better/worse when Monica’s mum Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) arrives to watch David and his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) as Monica and Jacob spend their days sexing chickens in a local factory.
There are many things to talk about when it comes to Minari, but before I get into the more emotional parts of the film, I want to talk about the more technical aspects. Every frame of this film is stunning, taking into account the local beauty where the film is set in as well as the time. The world feels so lush that you can’t help but get swept up in Jacob’s dream. Every detail of the world feels authentic, from cars to clothes and even the soundscape. It situates you in a time and place. Then there is the music that sits quietly in the background before it punches forward with these haunting choral numbers right when it needs to.
When it comes to the film depicting an authentic view of immigrant life in America, that is not something I am qualified to talk about other than to say that many who are qualified do find it to be authentic. The hard lines between what is Korean and what is American and how those lines blur and shift is one of the more substantial elements in the film. Then there is also how the family dynamic worked or conversely didn’t work. It honestly felt like I was watching a real family go through all of these struggles. It got so real that I could not watch the film in one sitting because it was hitting too close to home. I was wondering what was causing this reaction from me, and then the movie summed it up in one line of dialogue
“I know this won’t end well, and I can’t bear it”.
In the end, do we recommend Minari? Absolutely. This film captures a snapshot of a life so perfectly that it is almost difficult to watch sometimes because you feel like a voyeur eavesdropping on someone else’s life. To get a film to work on a level like this, you need the script, direction, cast, and production to work as one, and you see that in every frame here. If you liked Minari, I would recommend to you Greenland.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Minari
Directed by – Lee Isaac Chung
Written by – Lee Isaac Chung
Music by – Emile Mosseri
Cinematography by – Lachlan Milne
Edited by – Harry Yoon
Production/Distribution Companies – Plan B Entertainment, A24 & Madman Films.
Starring – Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Youn Yuh-jung, Will Patton, Scott Haze, Jacob Wade & Skip Schwink
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 6; New Zealand: PG; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13