Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Minari: Film Review

Minari: Film Review

Cast: Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Will Patton

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Quietly unassuming but even more devastating for being so, Minari is a perfect pearl of a film about the American immigration experience.

Minari: Film Review

The Walking Dead’s Stephen Yeun is Jacob Yi, a speedy chicken sexer who has moved his family to the outskirts of rural America for a better life in the 1980s.

But when his wife Monica (Ye-ri, an effective foil) glimpses said life of a trailer on wheels with a 50 acre plot of land she’s horrified. Their two kids aren’t much more impressed either but they have no choice but to settle in.

The couple's youngest David has his a heart murmur and his mother worries at their distance from a hospital should the worst happen; their eldest seems content to carry on a domestic life but both kids are on edge, firing paper planes with "Don’t fight" messages scrawled on their wings into the rows that develop over time.

Eventually Jacob acquiesces and welcomes his mother-in-law to live with them so they can become a true unit and get on with life.

Minari: Film Review

To say more about Minari is not to reveal more for fear of spoilers, merely a statement that this semi-autobiographical film from Lee Isaac Chung isn’t about plot machinations or dramatic reveals.

While the poster and trailer may  be led by the child David and promise a kind of quirkiness reserved for many films of its ilk, Minari isn't about easy simple and lazy stereotypes. There's an earnestness, humour and warmth that's ripe for the viewing.

It’s a gentle film that wraps you in its rhythms and one which is content to shock you over how engrossed and invested you’ve become in this family as the final moments of quiet slice of tragic devastation play out.

Veracity underpins every scene of this bucolic coming of age movie, skilfully shot by Lachlan Milne and directed by Chung. Each frame is a masterpiece in minimalism and a highly-skilled execution in immersion.

Minari: Film Review

Minari is beyond effective throughout, seeding you deeply into the world of these South Korean immigrants. It's another effective examination of the human condition, and of the journey others take in our worlds - and it's easily one that deserves to be part of any awards' talk which happens.

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