Director: Lee Isaac Chung
Runtime: 115 Minutes
Main Cast: Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri, Youn Yuh-jung, Will Patton, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Scott Haze, Darryl Cox
Plot: Jacob (Steven Yeun) is moving his family from the West Coast to Arkansas in search of a new way of living. His wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) doesn’t approve of the ‘house on wheels’ that he’s bought. Their son David (Alan Kim) and his sister aren’t upset by the move but are bored senseless. That is, until, their Grandma moves in with them.
My Thoughts: It doesn’t matter how many times I get proven wrong, I still judge books by their covers. Or, I guess, movies by their posters. I tried to watch Boyhood (2014) and couldn’t do it, I was bored just as much as the kids in Minari. It’s tainted that little sub-genre of dramas about families with no defined plot, and I wrongly assumed Minari was cut from the same cloth. Now that it’s getting so much award buzz it landed back on my radar and I finally gave it the chance. It’s a beautiful movie that I wished would never end.
The stand out star by far is Youn Yuh-jung, who plays the kids’ grandma. Oh, she reminded me so much of my own Granny at times, I miss her so much. She wasn’t a ‘proper’ grandma either, she didn’t bake cookies – she made what was probably the world’s worst cheese on toast that I still loved. She had what she called her ‘naughty voice’ which is when your mind just really wants to do something childish like, oh I don’t know, push your granddaughter into a bush whilst taking a walk! David hates the fact he has to spend so much time with his grandma but she never stops trying to win him over, even when he plays a cruel prank on her!
Coupled with that strained relationship is Jacob desperately trying to turn the land around their home into a successful farm. He pours in every last penny he has and puts everything on the line – including his relationship with his wife and I wanted so hard for him to succeed. The entire movie is just so wholesome, and tender. There’s no other way to describe it.
Best Bit: Pretty much every moment between David and his grandma was pure perfection but when David made friends with another boy and his grandma told him that his penis was broken? Absolutely classic! One of those jokes that means absolutely nothing unless you’ve seen the movie, of course.
Worst Bit: I can’t say exactly because of spoilers but if I say ‘Noooo Grandma, what did you do?!’ you’ll hopefully understand what part I mean. My heart sank into my feet at that moment and it was already down to my knees by then. Do me a favour, if you can, and tell your grandmother’s you love her – for me.
Fun Trivia: Steven Yeun’s red hat was a gift from his mother when he was 17.
My Rating: 4 and a half bottles of ‘water from the mountains’.