Why Minari Starring Steven Yeun Is The Film We All Should Be Talking About

A movie much needed in the chaotic times we live in.

Minari is a Korean language movie directed by the American director, Lee Isaac Chung, which has been on the lips of many as a potential top gunner.

The movie recently sparked controversy at Golden Globes 2021 for not qualifying the requirements of the “Best Motion Picture — Drama” category, even though it took home the award for “Best Motion Picture — Foreign Language”.

Before we dive into that issue, let’s talk about the film itself.

What is Minari about?

Minari is a drama movie set in the 1980s (yes, the era when people were not WOKE) about an immigrant Korean family that moves to the rural state of Arkansas.

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The Yi family shifts from their previous life in California to their new one, all based on the decision of the head of the family, Jacob Yi (played phenomenally by Steven Yeun). Jacob buys a plot of land which he deems to be fertile and will bring fortune to his family in order to achieve the “American dream”, that is if he can keep his family together first.

How is Minari different from “Parasite” or any other Korean Movie?

None of us have forgotten the historical moment of last year’s Oscars when the Bong Joon Ho directed movie “Parasite” won 4 Academy Awards, including the Best Picture award.

So another Korean-language movie being hyped by people is to be expected, but Minari is different, in the sense that it is an American film.

Other than the obvious facts about it being produced and shot in America, “Minari” delves much deeper into the roots of what makes the country a dreamland for both culturally alike and different dreamers, and if it is worth sacrificing it all to achieve the American dream.

The director, Lee Isaac Chung talked about its uniqueness by stating that “They speak Korean and it’s about a family and there’s some Korean culture involved, but I think this film speaks a lot to what America is. It contains a lot of people doing many different things, many different walks of life, and in that way, it’s quite different from ‘Parasite’”.

And it’s not just that, Minari speaks a lot about our humanity. Even though the movie is depicted during a time when racism was rampant and people were comparatively intolerant, to much of the viewers’ surprise, things are not that bad in this story.

The Yi family encounters many different people in their journey. Jacob Yi hires a worker (acted by the brilliant Will Patton) who reveals himself to be a Korean War veteran, later becomes a close part of the family.

During their first day at the county’s church, the children of the Yi family consisting of David (Alan S. Kim) and Anne (Noel Cho) get to meet white kids, who are culturally polar opposites. Despite the initial awkward encounter which is reflective of how innocent children are, both the kids befriend them.

In the chaotic times that we are living in, Minari is sure to help many find some inner-peace within themselves.

“I do feel hopeful and glad that it seems like audiences are willing to read subtitles, and to watch films that don’t reflect their own experiences,” said Lee Isaac Chung. “It seems like they identify with what they’re seeing, and they’re looking more to this shared humanity.”

Why was the film not nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes?

This issue is more of a technical one rather than a snub, as according to the Golden Globes’ rules: “any film with at least 50% of non-English dialogue goes into the foreign language category.”

But this scenario is quite similar to “Parasite”, which was also not nominated for the Best Picture category at the Golden Globes, but later went on to rightfully dominate the Oscars.

So Minari could pull off the same feat or at least be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards 2021.

The Lee Isaac Chung directed drama Minari stars, Steven Yeun, Han Ye Ri, Youn Yuh-Jung, Alan S. Kim, Will Patton, and Noel Cho.

Check out the trailer for Minari below-

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