Being dreamers and builders ourselves we’ll admit we’re suckers for a good yarn about a family of new arrivals just starting out in a Strange New Land, making things work through a combination of grit and initiative and creative thinking.
Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, a semi-autobiographical look at a Korean American family moving to Arkansas in the Eighties to corner the market on Asian vegetables works on so many levels: rooting for the newcomers as they struggle, laughing at the American characters they meet along the way, seeing our own origins in theirs.
Chung’s camera loves seven-year-old David (Alan Kim), who’s been uprooted from California by his father (Steven Yeun – blessedly unbludgeoned here after his tenure in The Walking Dead) and brought to the family homestead with his mother and sister. Sister (Noel Kate Cho) and Mum (Yeri Han) are unsure about Dad’s agrarian experiment and a gantlet of man-made and natural obstacles reinforce their impression that the family is headed in the wrong direction. Suffice to say that everyone’s resolve is tested, with many lessons learned along the way.
Available for rental through Amazon Prime.
The Elevator Pitch: Recognizable characters struggling to make it in a new and challenging land, and tested at every turn.
Quotable Quote: “Five acres is a hobby. My dream is 50 acres.”