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Minari Review – “a truly wonderful movie”

Charlie reviews Altitude Films’ MINARI calling it “a truly wonderful movie.” The film is available to rent on digital platforms in the UK now.

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Minari (Altitude Films)

Altitude Films’ Minari is now available to rent on digital platforms in the UK.

Synopsis

A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, Minari follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother. Amidst the instability and challenges of this new life in the rugged Ozarks, Minari shows the undeniable resilience of family and what really makes a home.

Review

Not many movies live up to the acclaim that they receives at their premiere; this can be because I build up an expectation to see something that will truly blow my mind, and when I finally get the chance to see the film, it do fails to not meet the anticipation. The reason I am saying this is due to the fact that Minari received applause left, right and centre at its world premiere during the Sundance Film Festival at the beginning of 2020. Since then, people around the world have applauded Lee Isaac Chung’s latest directorial effort. The film has now gone on to win multiple awards and has been nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. Does the film live up to its sky-high acclaim? Read on to find out.

Lee Isaac Chung’s latest film is set during the 1980s and David (Alan Kim), a seven-year-old Korean American boy, is faced with new surroundings and a different way of life when his father, Jacob (Academy-Award nominee Steven Yeun), moves their family from the West Coast to rural Arkansas. His mother, Monica (Han Ye-ri), is aghast that they live in a mobile home in the middle of nowhere, and David and his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) are bored and aimless. When his grandmother arrives from Korea to live with them, her unfamiliar ways arouse David’s curiosity. Meanwhile, Jacob, hell-bent on creating a farm on untapped soil, throws their finances, his marriage and the stability of the family into jeopardy.

Like I said, the word-of-mouth surrounding Minari was sky-high and acclaim from critics. People were saying this was a strong contender for multiple awards at the Oscars, and in retrospect they were correct! The film has received nominations for: Best Picture, Best Actor (Steven Yeun), Best Supporting Actress (Youn Yuh-jung), Best Original Score, Best Director (Lee Isaac Chung) and Best Original Screenplay, making it one of the films with the most nominations for the upcoming awards ceremony.

Firstly, the cinematography in the film is breath-taking to look at. Every single frame of the movie is filled with colour making the scenery stand out in the best way possible. From the opening shot to the closing scene, Minari features some of the best shots in any film so far this decade! It immediately pulls you into this environment and keeps you fixated on the screen until the very end.

The performances from each of the family members are all excellent. Alan Kim steals every single scene that he is in as the charming son, David, while Steven Yeun’s Jacob gives a riveting performance. He says to his wife, Monica, that he wants his children to see him succeed at something and you can visibly see the desperation for that to happen. This made me attach to his character on an emotional level a lot more and this made me feel the highs and lows of his arc hit harder.

The score is also very soothing. It is blended into the film perfectly to match the tone and mood of the film. During the light-hearted scenes, Emile Mosseri’s score is upbeat and fairly lively yet during the emotional scenes, it amplifies the emotion and helps add an impact and tugging at the heart.

Verdict

During the film the grandma (played by Youn Yuh-jung) says to Alan Kim’s David, “Minari is wonderful, wonderful” and I truly agree with this. Minari is a truly wonderful movie that is fully deserving of all the awards coming its way. Steven Yeun and Alan Kim steal every scene they are in and the father-son relationship between the two is perfect. The cinematography is stunning and the score by Emile Mosseri is beautiful. Lee Isaac Chung has made a heart-warming classic in the making.


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