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Minari

(Much of the film is Korean with English subtitles): Jacob, Monica, are Korean – American immigrants and move from California to Arkansas with their two young children. They arrive at the property that has several acres with no irrigation, and an old trailer. Jacob is looking to find success in creating a niche farming Korean vegetables and not have to make money in the chicken houses “looking at chicken butts”. There is something very special about this film that is based on the experiences of the director as a child. While the film is from an immigrant point of view, their story of trying to make it and succeed on a plot of their own land is a universal story of the American dream. I loved how the film shifts between the point of view of the children (primarily David, the youngest) and the parents who struggle to make it as a family. The seamless shifts reminded me of how Sean Baker, director of the Florida Project, achieves a similar and quite remarkable contrast between the children’s carefree life and the struggles with the parents. The film is sometimes funny and always a serious study of what it means to be together as a family and what it means to “make it” in America. I loved it – big thumbs up from me. It features great acting by all, a tight screenplay, and a great score. It does seem to be a movie that is much needed, and I think most who see it would find it enjoyable. This will be one of my favorites of the year. (2020; 4.5 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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