Minari tells the story of the Yi family, a family of South Korean immigrants who move to rural Arkansas with the intention of growing a farm in the 1980s.
While writing this review, I found out that the story is semi-autobiographical as is it loosely based on the director, Lee Issac Chung’s own rural upbringing and while I am not going to say that it is overtly obvious, it feels personal. And like the title states, this story is about family. You as their viewer spend more time with them than on the actual farm and because of that, you learn to love and sympathise with the characters
The best word to describe the acting in this movie is realistic, and while it sounds fairly obvious that the performances would be realistic, it really is the best word to use. You look at the actors in this movie and they really do look and act like a family, it’s almost as if they aren’t acting. And I know I use this word a lot in my reviews, but the performances in this movie are really nuanced.
Steven Yeun’s character Jacob is the backbone and the driving force of the story. Without his motivations, we wouldn’t have a story here in the first place. What I love the most about this performance is the range that Steven Yuen has. Jacob switches between many different moods and tones in this movie and the shifts between each one are not only believable but it’s understood.
If Steven Yeun is the backbone of the film, then Alan Kim is the emotional core. David plays an integral part in the story. You see the familial relationships through his eyes and even though he is so young, you can tell that he sees so much of the world. He’s also having an identity crisis in this movie, and even though it isn’t necessarily at the forefront, his performance is a clear and emotional one.
Han Ye-ri’s performance is also great. Her character Monica is going through a lot and the frustration that comes from that. It may come across as unlikeable but the more you watch the movie, the more you see why she acts the way she does. There is love and protectiveness there that she’s able to silently convey.
Youn Yuh-jung delivers what is probably my favourite performance in the whole movie and the one that I have seen talked about the most apart from Alan Kim and for good reason. Soon-ja is…