Minari by Lee Isaac Chung [8/10]

A Korean family of four, having escaped poverty in their own country, buys hardscrabble farmland in Arkansas in the 1980s. The father is driven and willful, the mother seethes with regret and worry, the older girl is all lightness, and the young son has a heart condition. When his grandmother joins them, and water problems strike the farm, conflicts bloom even as disaster beckons. “Minari” is an exquisitely unfurled and filmed immigration tale, one that reminded me of the endless struggles of my refugee parents in a new land, and I sat transfixed. Emile Mosseri’s soundtrack is elegiac and dramatic in turns, somehow lifting the ordinary into poetry. Alan S. Kim steals the show as the son but it’s the wonderful, shaded performance of Steven Yeun as the classic striving father that knits Minari together. A most worthy cinematic experience.

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