Minari: Movie Review

On first look audiences can assume "Minari" to be a film that is targeting a specfic demographic but that could be farther from the truth. This is a film as versatile as its namesake - a water celery that can grow almost anywhere and nurture those who eat it. You could dive into "Minari" as a take on the fabled American dream or you could wade your way through it as a parent (or as a grandparent) struggling to balance the chaos or you could simply consume it as a family drama. At the end of the day, "Minari" will grow and nurture audiences regardless on how they want to comprehend its story and characters. It is versatile that it can adjust to your mindset and key to all of this is its authentic and highly-relatable writing that just tugs you by the heartstrings.
It is 1983 and the Yi family moves into a secluded plot of land in rural Arkansas. The head of the family Jacob (Steven Yeun) plans to start a farm growing Korean vegetables but this is easier said than done. Monica (Han Ye-ri), Jacob's wife, doesn't approve of their move and has a growing resentment towards her husband. Their son David (Alan Kim) and their daughter Anne (Noel Kate Cho) are more accepting but David has a heart condition that requires constant monitoring. To help them, the couple decides to enlist Monica's mother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung). At each passing day, the struggles of the Yi family continue to grow and Jacob, desperate to reach success, throws the family's health and finances in complete turmoil. Can the Yi family survive the bad and risky decisions that Jacob is willing to take?
Director Lee Isaac Chung based "Minari" on his own personal experiences and it shows with how "Minari" was highly-relatable, captivating, and authentic. Personally, the film gave us a lot of emphatetic emotions as parents ourselves and against the backdrop of our own childhoods. As parents, we're constantly reminded of how parental life could be hard, unforgiving and yet fulfilling. How it is complex and simple all at the same time. For our childhoods, it made us reminisce of simpler times and finding joy in nothing but your imagination. "Minari" works because it is a story that doesn't feel fake and it wasn't afraid to show the hard realities of people having their own selfish convictions to the detriment of those around them, the distinction between right and wrong being so vague, and that trying your best just doesn't guarantee success in life. Outside its masterfully written story were the actors who gave life to the Yi family. We could easily say that most of the cast gave stellar performances and we just are at a loss to pick one actor that really stood out. If we have one minor issue with the film, it would be the character of Anne. It seemed that her character wasn't that essential in the grand scheme of things and the whole movie could have worked without her character in tow. Other than that, "Minari" will astound you with its simplicity and complexity and versatility all at the same time. This was one film that impacted as in so many levels that we truly appreciate its writing more than anything else.
Rating: 4 and a half reels

Why you should watch it:
- a highly-relatable and dramatic narrative that will certainly impact a wide spectrum of its viewers

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the character of Anne could have been scrapped

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