Oscars favorite, ‘Minari’ bound to break your heart and heal it at the same time

Written By Jordyn Hronec, Editor-in-Chief

5 Globes out of 5


Available to rent: Amazon Prime


“Minari,” a Korean drama that came out over a year ago in the U.S., has been nominated for an Academy Award in several categories this year, including Best Picture. The film, directed by Lee Isaac Chung, was recently made available to rent on select services, including Amazon Prime. This, and the fact that it took home the 2021 Golden Globe for best Foreign Language Film (which caused controversy following Korean film “Parasite”’s inclusion and win in the overall Best Picture category for the 2020 Oscars), has caused “Minari” to gain an influx of new viewers, including this reviewer. 

“Minari” tells the story of a family of Korean-Americans, with two immigrant parents, Jacob and Monica, struggling to make ends meet for their two children, Anne and David, during the Reagan era. The film begins with the family packing up and moving from California to Arkansas, where they attempt to forge a future as successful mid-western farmers. During the film, the childrens’ grandmother, Soon-ja, moves to America from South Korea to look after them while their parents work. The film follows the family through the ups and downs of adapting to this new life, and it showcases the growing relationship between the children and their grandmother. 

For those of us who have not seen our grandparents for the past year due to COVID-19 precautions, this movie will tug at that specific heartstring. 

“Minari” is for the most part, wholesome, and it is bursting at the seams with love. It is a clear and focused study of the life of immigrants, trying, and in many cases, failing to make it in a country where the journey from rags to riches is romanticized but nearly impossible. And this is why the film is so heartbreaking; it juxtaposes the bleak reality of how a family’s financial situation can tear it apart with portrayals of a family trying desperately to come together.

“Minari” also features incredible acting performances. Steven Yeun, known mostly for his role as Glenn in “The Walking Dead,” shines in his role of Jacob, the father of the Yi family who is desperate to see his small farm succeed. Yeun was nominated for Best Actor at The Oscars for his performance. Alan Kim, who plays the youngest member of the family, David, was especially captivating and charming in his breakout role. Kim was honored with a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Young Performer. Also, Youn Yuh-Jung, who plays Soon-ja, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at The Oscars.

“Minari” also received nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score, with Chung receiving the nomination for Best Director.

The score in “Minari” was also a standout. It was immersive and added incredible power to the story being told. Even though the story of the Yi family is typical for many immigrant families of the time, the score of this film made the story especially beautiful.

The sadness portrayed in “Minari,” is so tactical and subversive, that viewers may not feel it immediately after viewing the film. But this movie sticks with you, and it’s wholesomeness is hijacked by a feeling of hopelessness when you consider the idea of persevering out of necessity rather than out of want. 

In order to make it in America and as humans, we must keep trying despite our failures. It is all we can do.