Minari: Worth Every Penny

This Golden Globe winning film shows the strength in the struggles of our American immigrant families


Photo by A24 on twitter.com

“Minari” recently won the golden globe for Best Foreign Language Motion Picture at the 78th annual Golden Globes, and it is clear why. “Minari” was produced by A24 and Plan B Entertainment and directed by Lee Isaac Chung. The film premiered in theatres on Feb. 12 2021.

“Minari” follows the life of the Chungs, a Korean-American family who moves to Arkansas in hopes of achieving their own American dream. Traveling to a new state and moving into a home with wheels is just the tip of the iceberg for the Chungs. The film shows the family’s struggles with assimilating to 80’s rural America and their impending turmoil, but ultimately shows how they overcome challenges as a family.

American actor Steven Yeun, from “The Walking Dead,” does a phenomenal job as the father, Jacob, in the film. The story revolves around his character working hard to build a farm so that he can provide for his family to the best of his ability. The movie also includes South Korean actresses Han Ye-ri and Youn Yuh-jung, who play the mother, Monica, and the grandmother. Han Ye-ri portrays a compassionate mother who loves deeply and wants to care for her family to the best of her ability, whereas Youn Yuh-jung is similar as she also loves deeply but is more energetic and not as uptight as her daughter. To see Monica and her mom within the film is interesting because for being mother and daughter, they hold themselves differently.

The acting in the film is superb. The youngest actor on the cast is seven and the oldest is 73 – The characters Jacob and Monica Chung are a married couple who often find themselves at odds. The family’s new home in rural Arkansas is not the most ideal location because it is located miles away from the nearest town, which causes conflict between the couple. Most of the couple’s disagreements have to do with them having different aspirations for their two kids and the overall livelihood of their family. Humor, though, lifts the mood of the film. The grandmother and young son, David, add humor when their personalities collide, which places a nice touch of comic relief since the film’s main tone is quite solemn.

The beginning of the film emotes a hope for a new beginning. The visuals within the film depict greenery and the rural landscape surrounding the family’s new home. The characters mainly speak Korean but English is incorporated occasionally throughout the film. With the film’s dialogue being mostly in Korean, it enriches the viewer’s experience to witness an immigrant family’s predicament of being in a foreign land.

The heavy feeling throughout the film intensifies due to the numerous drawbacks the family faces including health issues, loss and losing faith in one another.

After watching a movie you wonder what the takeaway is. For some movies it’s hard to know what the lesson is, but “Minari” is not like this. The film makes you feel something. A sense of a new beginning where, ultimately, through all of the good and the bad that happens in everyday life, a family can, and will, get through it together.

“Minari” is an honest drama film that gives insight into a family’s experience of hope and pain that will leave you appreciative and aware.