Minari (2021) Review

Certificate: 12A

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Screenwriter: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan S. Kim

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 115 Minutes

Language: Korean

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

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Yearning to own a small patch of land and be more than a chicken sexer, the ambitious paterfamilias, Jacob Yi, relocates his Korean-American family, sceptical wife, Monica, and their children, David and Anne, from California to 1980s rural Arkansas, to start afresh and capture the elusive American Dream. – From IMDB

After the less than idea year we have all had, this film is the hug that we all need right now.   Sure there is a definite feeling that the whole film is seen through rose coloured glasses, for example at the tie, as there is now, there would have been at least a little racial prejudice towards this family in their small rural town, but in this film, nary a ill-hearted person is to be seen.  Other than few punk kids at the back of the church bus.  Released at a time when there is a lot of Asian hate going in in the united States, this films sense of comradery and family is something that is very heart warming to see, and something some people should probably be taking more notice of.

It has a meandering pace, nothing at all is rushed in this film.  There is very little in the way of plot outside of Jacob trying to make the farm.  Instead the film is very much about family,  and the idea of the American dream.  If you want a solid plot, or a fast paced story, you aren’t going to find it here.  What you will find though is solid acting, particularly from Yuh-Jung Youn who plays grandma Soonja.  Her cheeky personality is a joy and brings a little life to the otherwise laid back family.  Her chemistry onscreen with Alan Kim, the other stand out star of the show is just delightful.  Alan Kim has been delighting audiences both on and off screen this award season.  His adorable personality just makes him an absolute joy to watch.

The musical score is stunning, one of the most outstanding I have heard in a while.  And while there is nothing particular to write home about in terms of camerawork or direction or cinematography, there are a few shots that stand out in my head even a few hours after the film as ended. 

This film well deserves all the praise it is getting.  It is so far the standout film I have seen this season, and I hope to continue to see it do great things.

‘Minari’ is now available to buy on Amazon and other UK streaming sites.

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