★★★★1/2 Letterboxd Score
Direction by: Lee Issac Chung
Starring: Steven Yuen, Han Ye-ri, Youn Yuh-Jung, Will Patton, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho
A24 and Plan B Entertainment In theatres soon
“Parasite” has officially paved the way for international, non-English films by winning the highest honors at one the biggest ceremonies for film, in the world.
In 2020 another huge contender will no doubt rattle Hollywood and that movie is “Minari”. We have nothing but to thank “Parasite” giving “Minari” an opportunity to be taken seriously. What makes this film so intriguing is the fact that it is 95% Korean with English subtitles but still remains a naturally American film at its core. Not only it is a domestic film, but it fits in perfectly and adds to an ever-growing library of classic American Cinema.
We begin this tale of the American Dream with Jacob Yi (Steven Yuen) and his Wife, Monica Yi (Han Ye-Ri) and two children (Alan Kim and Noel Kate Cho) as they make the pilgrimage to the United States, immigrating from South Korea. After spending time working in a chicken factory, Jacob decides that it is time for his family to make something of themselves and he decided to purchase land to start a farm in rural Arkansas. When they finally make it out there, Monica has some quick realizations of regret—she does not want to be there. This creates conflicts with Jacob’s dream of owning a farm and the two have to compromise. This is all while their son is dealing with certain medical issues and Monica’s mother moves in with the family. The family has somewhat of a difficult time adjusting to their new home and way of life. Not knowing much English they also find it difficult to find friends. Paul (Will Patton) quickly becomes the family’s connection with the unknown and intimidating rural American world. You cannot help but root for them. Jacob’s pursuit of the American Dream is what makes this film some of America’s finest contemporary cinema.
Just about every moment, beautifully captured adds to the already engrossing story. The cinematography headed by Lachlan Milne masterfully enables the story and images to work cohesively, painting a clear and stunning portrayal of the life of this immigrant family. At moments, so stunning, you are quite literally left in a pool of emotions. Left to process, you fall in love again with the art of storytelling. “Minari” is storytelling at the highest level. There is not a doubt in me that would ever try to sway you in any direction from you being able to experience this film. I highly recommend it and I think you will absolutely enjoy how enriching it is experiencing the American Dream from this perspective.