New beginnings are always challenging, as engagingly depicted in the Golden Globe winning movie Minari by Lee Isaac Chung.
The film is a recollection of Isaac’s boyhood experience in the 1980s of his immigrant Korean family being plopped down on a farm in tight-knit and evangelical Arkansas.
Jacob Yi, chasing his American Dream of growing Korean fruits and vegetables, moves his family from California to rural Arkansas. Skeptical wife Monica sees less dream and more nightmare as they pull up to the tattered mobile that is to be their new home. The children, young David with a heart murmur and his sister Anne, in their own culture shock, become witness to the growing tension between their parents caused by their mother’s frustration at her husband’s dogged pursuit of a dream that leaves the family scrounging.
Monica’s mother Soon-ja comes from South Korea to help with the children and David must share a room with his kooky grandmother. He’s not happy about it, but the relationship between the two grows and is funny and touching as it evolves. The grandmother inadvertently becomes a catalyst for change as an unfortunate incident and health issues cause the family to come together. And the minari patch that Soon-ja and the children planted just might help the Yi family rebuild and figure out their place in the world.
Minari offers authentic insights about the struggles of a family and the immigrant experience. It’s subtitled but don’t let that deter you — it’s a smart and affecting movie with excellent performances and worthy of the praise and accolades it has received.
Minari shows Saturday, Oct. 30 at 5 and 7:30 p.m. at the Salmar Classic. Vaccine passports required.
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