“Minari,” directed and written by Lee Isaac Chung, is a PG-13 film that dissects the American Dream and celebrates family. Minari, after all, is the Korean word for “water parsley,” and in the film, it is explained that it can grow almost anywhere; this becomes a metaphor for how the family can also prosper anywhere.
In the film, a family (a mom, dad, grandmother, and two kids) moves from California to rural Arkansas to start a farm in 1983, and the film uses three different perspectives to dissect the American Dream.
The grandmother Soonja, played by Youn Yuh-jung who won Best Supporting Actress at the 2021 Oscars for her role, represents Korea and its culture. The parents Monica and Jacob, played by Han Ye-ri and Steven Yeun respectively, represent the bridge between Korean and American life while the young son David, played by Alan S. Kim, represents the attempt to fully assimilate into American culture.
The acting felt authentic, and there was a lot of chemistry between the actors, specifically Alan S. Kim and Yoon Yuh-jung.
“Minari” was filmed in northern Oklahoma, and the cinematography was so good that it made northern Oklahoma look beautiful.
While the plot is slow at times, viewers should remember that this is more of a character-driven movie, and therefore, should expect the plot to move as such.
In the end, “Minari” gets 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I would recommend this movie to those who enjoy slower-paced movies and anyone who wants to gain perspective on the intricacies of relationships and the American Dream.