Minari – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Minari – On the Farm: Struggle for a Dream

In life, we are a product of dreams.  Through conflict and sacrifice, we take steps to hopefully find a place to breathe.  The journey is a bumpy road, but one where we can meet that mark of truth.  In this review, I look at a film that presents a simple story of pursuing that dream.  Minari might be a slow burn, but it is journey that defines the meaning of life’s ultimate truths.

The story follows a Korean family who has immigrated to America in the 1980s in hopes of a better life.  In the beginning, you are introduced to the Yi family through the typical ‘fish out of water’ trope.  After living in California for some time, they travel to Arkansas because the father, Jacob (Steven Yeun) invested in land.  He hopes that by trying to start a farm, it will provide a strong foundation for the family.  This first act moves along methodical linear path that parlays familiar situations of self-sacrifice.  At every turn, the fusion of family and coming-of-age themes provide a relative thread of adapting to a new environment.  The simple method of watching them live provides an endearment to their struggle.  As Jacob hopes this farm will bring prosperity, the situation drives his wife, Monica (Han Ye-ri) to think that a return to California might be better for their two children.  The fragility of their relationship provides a level of uncertainty that plagues the farm’s initial startup.  This leads to a decision to invite the grandmother to live with them, leading to a second act of family like drama.  The angst, anguish and cheers expressed bring conflicts of a family caught in the pursuit of the American Dream.  This trickle-down effect brings causality to their living situation, leading to some unpredictable consequences.

As they continue to try find purpose in their new home, it becomes a window of growth.  From the importance of family, pursuit of prosperity and reflection of a strong role model, the melding of relative life themes makes every situation authentic to the core.  The simple nature of seeing ‘life’s journey’ against the backdrop of an immigrant’s tale provides a complexion that is warm, raw and welcomed.  As the prospect of the farm starts to yield some results, it brings about the question of cost.  This leads into a third act of unpredictable circumstances that provide a catalyst of the importance of togetherness (in the climax).  Minari provides strength of the story familiar to us all.  Even with its slow pacing, this plays in providing an endearing experience.  This is available On-Demand, but it would be worth seeing at the theaters, full price.

Full Score – 4 out of 5 (Full Price)

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