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Minari (2021)

Reviews

6/10: Convincing family drama for the most part
Thursday, August 12, 2021

Minari" is an American movie that was released in 2020 already, but because of the pandemic, it took until fairly recently for the film to get here to the middle of Europe, so I could finally enjoy it on a big screen. Well, enjoy slightly under half of it I could say because this was when the showing had to be stopped because of heavy rainfall, but I managed to finish the film at home. It stays under the two-hour mark, but still a fairly long film overall. The key cast is relatively small, basically the people you see on the photo here (plus the grandmother), even if the daughter does not have that much screen time either, at least the boy is more at the center of it all story-wise. But I will get to that a little later. The writer and director here is Lee Isaac Chung. Many think of him as a newcomer, but this...

7/10: Minari
Monday, April 19, 2021

I heard the title for this American made Korean language film a number of times when it received multiple nominations during Awards Season, so I was looking forward to watching it. Basically, set in 1983, the Korean immigrant Yi family moves from California to their new farm in rural Arkansas, where father and husband Jacob (Oscar nominated Steven Yeun) hopes to grow Korean fruits and vegetables to sell to vendors in Dallas. His first decision is to dig a well for a natural source of water. He enlists the help of eccentric local man and Korean War veteran Paul (Will Patton). While Jacob is optimistic about the life ahead, his wife Monica (Yeri Han) is disappointed and worries about their son David (BAFTA nominated Alan S. Kim). He suffers from a heart condition and is frequently told not to run. Jacob and Monica also find work separating chicks from male to female at the nearby hatchery. The couple have constant...

8/10: Cockerel Culling
Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Minari" is an exceptionally well-made picture especially for being somewhat simplistic in its depiction of a farm family. The pleasant imagery and music works in a Terrence Malick-light sort of way, although there's not always enough here to contemplate to earn such languid lyricism--largely comprised of bromides on the American Dream, the Nation of Immigrants and some tilted balance between reason and spirituality. Even the pseudoscience of dowsing for well water is strangely celebrated. That's not something I care to bother thinking about during wistful compositions of 1980s rural Arkansas, let alone a man dragging a cross along a gravel road on Sundays. There are better parts here, though. The acting in uniformly good, including an Oscar-nominated performance from Steven Yeun (perhaps best known for leaving "The Walking Dead" TV series before it really got bad) and an Oscar-winning one from Youn Yuh-jung as an amusing grandma. The most interesting aspect I...

8/10: We said we wanted a new start. This is it
Saturday, April 10, 2021

This is a poignant tale of a Korean family pursuing the American dream by working a large tract of farmland in the state of Arkansas by way of California. The life of the parents on the West Coast was hampered by work as chicken sexers, something I never heard of before but makes sense if you think about it. The females are separated to lay eggs, while the males are sorted for meat, though in the story it sounds like the males are discarded as being useless. More on this later.The most unusual and entertaining character here is the old grandma (Yuh-Jung Youn) who joins her daughter's family once they've settled into their trailer. It takes some time for the young son David (Alan S. Kim) to warm up to his grandmother, who takes pleasure in drinking water from the mountains (Mountain Dew!) and watching pro wrestlers pound each other on TV. David's offer of...

6/10: Minari
Thursday, April 8, 2021

In many ways Minari is a throwback to the farming dramas of the mid 1980s. Films such as Country, The River and Places in the Heart showing the harsh realities of rural life.Minari has for its protagonists a Korean immigrant family.Set in the 1980s. Jacob (Steven Yeun) has brought his family from California to Arkansas.Sick and tired of his menial job that will lead him to nowhere. He dreams of growing Korean vegetables for the expanding Korean market.His wife Monica (Yeri Han) though is horrified by the move. She liked California and now finds herself living in a mobile home. Their son David has a heart murmur and the closest hospital is a hour's drive away.The children settle down and even make friends. However this new life brings tensions between Jacob and the increasingly unhappy Monica.Pretty soon Monica's mother Soonja comes to live with them as she could look after the kids...

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