A little that speaks volumes. ‘Minari’ is a movie that fits perfectly in these lines. ‘Minari’ is simple, ‘Minari’ is what you wish it to be. The title of the movie in literal terms means ‘Korean Watercress’ that is used in Korean household cooking.
‘Minari grows like weeds anywhere, so you can pick and eat it. Rich or poor, everyone can enjoy it’ – Soonja (Youn Yuh Jung).
‘It’s better to see it than to have it hidden. Things that hide are more dangerous and scary’ – Soonja (Youn Yuh Jung).
Watch the trailer for for ‘Minari‘ here –
‘Minari’ is written and directed by Lee Issac Chung. The writer/director uses his own life experience to tell a story of immigrant life and more. The main characters in the movie include a Korean American father named Jacob (Steven Yeun), mother Monica (Yeri Han), their two children, daughter Anne (Noel Kate Cho), son David (Alan S. Kim), and grandmother Soonja (Youn Yuh Jung).
CHARACTER GIST –
The story of ‘Minari’ revolves around all its characters; just like your family, where everyone is a protagonist with meaning to life and existence.
Jacob – He carries himself like a prototypical mid-20th-century white American farmer, complete with gimme cap, terse speech, breast pocket cigarette pack, and ambling gunfighter walk. His character comes with a strong will to show his kids that he could succeed in something.
Monica – The character could be presumed to have come from a higher social class and is more comfortable living in the cities. This could be noticed from her discomfort while moving to a house with wheels and barren land with no one around.
Anne – She seems to be in restless state, with little to do in their country setting.
David – ‘Minari’ is said to be told from the perspective of Yi’s youngest son, who’s fast asleep in the back seat when the family pulls into their driveway for the first time.
Soonja – Her character is childish and wise, eccentric, often embarrassing, lewd, and loving. She is paired with her grandson David. Together they make a charismatic combo, lifting and changing the film with wonderfully observed humor.
Watch the cast and director of ‘Minari‘ being interviewed by Variety –
The story is set around the 1980s. Jacob decides to move to rural Arkansas from California along with his wife Monica and their American-born children Anne and David. Jacob purchased a big piece of land where he could farm and grow Korean vegetables and fruits and sell the same to other immigrant families. This is what Jacob dreams of in order to establish himself and his family in the country in the long run.
However, Monica is not confident about his husband’s ambitions. Monica is worried about their kids, if they would be able to adjust to their father’s ambitious dream, and if their son would keep healthy in particular. David has a heart murmur, and Monica is concerned if anything had to happen to him, the nearby hospital is 1 hour away from where they live.
The couple fights in one scene, in which the kids make paper aeroplanes with the words ‘Don’t Fight’ written in them and throws the same at them. Later in the movie, Monica’s mother Soonja comes to Arkansas from South Korea to live with them. Soonja brings a bag full of ‘gochugaru’ (chilli powder) and anchovies for her daughter. She also brings herbal medicine for her grandson to drink – for good health.
Soonja in one scene goes out for a walk with her grandkids to the forest nearby and finds a creek, where she happens to plant the ‘Minari’ seeds she had brought from Korea.
The movie is also filled with moments in which Anne earnestly describes Mountain Dew as “water from the mountains” that’s “good for your health” to her grandmother. When – Monica leaves $100 in the collection plate at a church she doesn’t intend to go back to, which her mother secretly takes it back.
The scene-stealer would be the last few minutes of the movie, where the family befalls a tragedy. Days pass and they start back together as a family; a sense of gratitude then comes for all the simple things that surrounds one.
The movie shows a natural sight of the couple and the family as a whole rather than an exaggerated plot. It’s the little details in the movie that brings the charm in it.
(I earnestly tried not to spoil the movie by giving all the scene details above, there are more intricate details to this movie that one should watch to understand it)
The indie movie has been well directed, along with the flawless performance by every actor. The movie uses soft tones of music to suit the scenes.
‘Minari’ will make you feel the need and importance to grow together with your family or loved ones. Wherever it may be, the sun will rise – the sun will go down – life will throw its ups and downs – but when together with family or your loved ones – everything will work out.
The movie gives you a little experience of an immigrant life trying to make a living in an unknown country and more towards a vision of home.
A home that is not about belonging to a plot of land or a particular community, but rather about what it means to belong to one another.
(A feel good/must watch movie)
IMAGE COURTESY – PLAN B, A24 PRODUCTION