A24 + grandmas = guaranteed good.
After being absolutely swept by one of the cleverest opening credit scenes ever, foreshadowing the conflict ahead almost immaculately, Minari introduces us to a Korean American family arriving at their new home set a bit remote from the city-life society. In terms of how Lee Isaac Chung embodies culture shock in its pros and cons, the stereotype arc of family vs. work which arrives with the logical progression of the two’s mixture, and even an existentialist grime into what assimilation burdens yet eventually blesses its subjects with, he does it at least “above” the average of most filmmakers out there with his candidly poetic plot and emotionally comprehensible execution.
I’ve had the privilege to experience my childhood with both American-born grandparents and Taiwanese-born grandparents, and their personality differences are TRANSPARENT — you just can’t deny it! But, the transition into understanding and becoming numb to these contrasts is the best way to become a smarter and stronger person as far as I’m concerned. Accepting, understanding, and implementing cultures throughout your entire life is what always grows you as a person, whether you like it or not. Someone unfamiliar plummeting into your life suddenly can be challenging to adjust to no doubt, especially if their personality is taboo to your own knowledge of the correct and the incorrect, but let’s not act like we haven’t become accustomed to most of the things repeated in everyday activity that we had once detested, especially in… ahem… childhood. But, also in adulthood… of course.
I reckon Chung has a really bright future ahead of him after the success of Minari. The film is solid, but I have a colossal feeling he has the potential to make something way better than this, with less contrivances and even MORE subtlety. Shoutout to Lachlan Milne as well; the cinematography in this is pristine ASF.
“Minari” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime.