At some point in our lives, we all have wondered about pursuing the American Dream, haven't we? But the road to fulfilling it is not that easy.
The movie 'Minari' subtly presents this point by serving us a poignant shot of reality through its tactfully written storyline.
Watch the trailer of Minari here
It represents the challenges faced by a Korean-American family after moving to a new city.
A deeply humane storyline is also embedded into the plot where it shows the internal struggles of a family.
In the beginning, Minari may feel like another typical story of an immigrant family, showing its struggle to make ends meet by toiling at a local hatchery.
But over time, we see the development of plots and characters which allude to authentic human emotions like love and care.
The test of the resilience of a family in adverse times could not be described any better.
This is the fifth film by director Lee Isaac Chung. He crafted Minari by drawing inspiration from his childhood.
The story depicts relationships in such a realistic manner that anyone could picture their own family in it.
Although the movie is developed by the American production houses A24 and Plan B Entertainment, it was categorised as a foreign language film by the Hollywood Foreign Press. This gave rise to controversy.
In my opinion, an immigrant family's continuous battle of adjusting to extraordinary circumstances is quite a familiar scenario in America, and not a foreign idea.
The story is set in the early 1980s when the Korean-American Yi family decides on a major shift in their life as they move from the city to rural Arkansas.
It was Jacob Yi's (Steven Yeun) decision to nestle in a trailer house on a vast uninhabited land. The house was disappointing to his wife Monica (Yeri Han) even though the kids found it to be intriguing as it had wheels.
Jacob and Monica are the main protagonists of this film who exhibited contradictory personalities throughout the film yet their bonding was brilliantly portrayed.
Jacob dreams of bringing Korea to America by producing local crops and seemed quite adept in farming whereas Monica is a strict mother who is pessimistic about her husband's decision, but shows agency for her children and cares deeply about her family.
She represents a strong Asian mother who is the backbone of her family. Even after a heartbreaking climax, we see her showing her selfless love towards Jacob by helping him to put off the fire that was destroying her husband's long built dream.
At some point, the audience might question Jacob's actions as a father and may even be resentful towards him, but he is also a character people can empathise with.
The portrayal of Jacob and Monica as well as their children David (Alan Kim) and Anne (Noel Kate Cho) was very natural.
Especially the young boy Alan, who recently bagged the critics' choice award for his emotive performance as David.
Another noteworthy character was Paul (Will Patton), a peculiar local man and a Korean war veteran.
His role as an evangelical Christian who influenced Jacob's wife to believe that evil has overshadowed their house was disturbing yet realistic.
But why is this movie named Minari?
It has to do with the relationship between Monica's mother Soonja and her son David.
Although they have a rocky start, Soonja and David gradually develop an intimate and beautiful relationship. They bond over growing the plant called Minari.
They go to a secluded place every day, a little far from their house and the grandmother shares her thoughts about the plant Minari, life, and so on.
The name Minari is used as a metaphor by director Chung. This plant usually thrives in its second year after it dies in the first.
It resembles our life, which might look unpleasant sometimes but the grief ends and we shine again.
The cinematography beautifully showcased the natural beauty of rural Arkansas, especially in the scenes where David and his grandmother stroll around together.
The realistic snapshots of daily life and the warm-toned lighting were excellently crafted in this movie.
The soothing backdrop of the American heartland, authentic representation of immigrant families, simplistic yet realistic storyline, and power-packed performance of the actors made Minari one of the paramount movies of 2020.
It recently earned plenty of awards and is considered a potential winner in the foreign film category in the Oscars.
You can watch this refreshing movie on Amazon, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube.