Rent Minari (2020)

3.5 of 5 from 600 ratings
1h 50min
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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.
, Yeri Han, Noel Cho, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Tea Oh
Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Christina Oh
Lee Isaac Chung
Alan Kim, Lee Isaac Chung, Yuh-Jung Youn, Emile Mosseri
Altitude Film Distribution
Children & Family, Drama
2021, A Brief History of Old Age on Screen: Part 1, BAFTA Nominations Competition 2023, BAFTA Nominations Competition 2024, Through Time, Films to Watch If You Like..., Oscar Nominations Competition 2023, Oscar Nominations Competition 2024, A Brief History of Film..., What to Watch Next If You Liked Nomadland

2021 BAFTA Best Supporting Actress

2021 Oscar Best Supporting Actress

2020 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Dramatic

2020 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award Dramatic

Release Date:
Run Time:
110 minutes
English Audio Description, English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1, Korean Dolby Digital 2.0, Korean Dolby Digital 5.1
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Release Date:
Run Time:
115 minutes
English Audio Description, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English LPCM Stereo, Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Korean LPCM Stereo
English Hard of Hearing
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
BLU-RAY Regions:

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Reviews (7) of Minari

Low-key but totally absorbing and universally relatable - Minari review by PD

Spoiler Alert

A rare look at a Korean family trying to make a go of it in 1980s Arkansas, Lee Isaac Chung’s autobiographical, low-key piece is warmly observant and gently humorous but also doesn't shy away from the enormous strains the struggle places on the family. It's a very specific context but also universally relatable.

The opening shot of the family arriving at their new home—a dilapidated trailer sitting in the middle of a field - neatly subverts the white-picket-fence American Dream, and we're immediately aware that things are going to go very wrong between horrified wife Monica (Yeri Han) and her defiantly optimistic husband Jacob (Steven Yeun) for whom this marks a step up from the humiliation of working in a chicken hatchery. Jacob has big dreams of building out a small farm on his land, composed of Korean vegetables to cater to the growing Korean immigrant population in America, but the strains this puts on the relationship with Monica provides much of the focus of the film and is very well-handled. Another key development is, after a marital bust-up (neatly accompanied by the children making paper aeroplanes with 'don't fight' written on them - we've all been there), the arrival of Monica's mother, Soon-ja (Yuh-Jung Youn) from South Korea. Not your conventional grandmother, the cursing wily matriarch only adds more conflict: young David, in particular, resists her presence with all the (considerable) ammunition at his disposal. While predictably, the two misfits eventually form a bond, Minari expands upon this rather clichéd connection between grandmother and grandson (yes, Ozu’s Tokyo Story does come to mind) to tackle more substantive issues of what it means to cultivate a better life and what it takes for relationships to survive and thrive, even in the worst of times.

Chung's affection for his characters, and the Arkansas farmland where he grew up—always shines through, and there’s never a moment where you don’t root for and care for each family member. There’s even a certain fondness for Will Patton’s Paul, a batty evangelical farmer with stringy hair and big glasses, who carries a giant cross on Sundays ('this is my church' he says), a wild detail that could only come from real life (as apparently, Chung remembered it from his youth). He's neatly contrasted with the po-faced regular churchgoers who, for all their going-on about Jesus and the Second Coming and whatnnot, don't ever seem to lift a finger to help.

There's some less successful touches - young David's potentially serious medical condition is all a bit superfluous and not very well treated, and the significant new adversity which provides an anchor for the third-act climax is all a bit heavy; the film is also insufficiently clear about showing how the family crisis is resolved at the end. However all in all a very highly-accomplished, totally absorbing piece.

6 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

Very Enjoyable - Minari review by JP

Spoiler Alert

This was a lovely film showing characters and a life we rarely get to see. It's an American slice of life that I know, being a Yank, but the British will find it

interesting and not the usual portrayal of life in the States. The cast is wonderful, and how they get children to be so convincing still amazes me.

5 out of 5 members found this review helpful.

Family roots - Minari review by TE

Spoiler Alert

An enjoyable story that presents a variation on the standard version of the American Dream. Here it is a Korean family seeking to establish a farm in rural Arkansas, but the virtues extolled are the familiar ones: hard graft and optimism will triumph in the end.

There is a thread of evangelical Christianity that gives the film an unnecessary extra twist. The previous owner of the farmland committed suicide and the man hired as a farm worker insists on performing his own version of an exorcism. He spends his Sundays lugging a cross around the backroads.

The film's main strengths lie in the details of the family members' characters: the granny's profanity and eccentricity; the young boy's growing independence; and the relationship dynamics between the mother and the father.

The 'minari' plant, quietly sown by the grandmother, provides a satisfying metaphor for true roots.

4 out of 4 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Minari review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

There’s a quiet grace to the somewhat slice-of-life story about a Korean family moving to Arkansas in the 1980s. The Yi family settles down on a plot of land they can call their own, living on a massive acreage that has the potential to become farmland. Some of the family is excited about this while others are unsure it’ll ever happen.

The family of four includes the hopeful father Jacob (Steven Yuen), the cautious mother Monica (Han Ye-ri), the eldest daughter Anne (Noel Kate), and the curious son David (Alan Kim). Jacob is the most excited about this endeavor, believing this is his chance to make his own way and work for himself. Monica has ample reason to be concerned. Aside from farming being a risky venture, their distance from civilization makes her scared for her children, both socially and health-wise. In particular, David has a heart murmur and he could fall ill at any time.

Another concern is just how much say Monica has in her family’s lifestyle. To make ends meet until the farm comes to be, both Jacob and Monica return to their regular job of sexing chickens. Jacob has been a pro for years but Monica still struggles to keep up with him. A Korean co-worker ensures Monica she doesn’t have to worry about meeting a high quota but her concerns are about being as capable as her husband. She worries about not being as stable on her own, as she fears that may be in her future if the farm doesn’t work out.

Trying to help out with the situation Monica’s mother coming to help watch the kids while the parents work and farm. Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) arrives with great excitement about becoming so valued in the home. She doesn’t connect quickly with Jacob who feels that this woman is not a traditional grandma considering she doesn’t bake cookies. She does, however, like gambling and drinking Mountain Dew, just like Jacob. Eventually, she wins him over with her wise worldview that ranges everywhere from ecology to faith.

Director Lee Isaac Chung takes great care with his film to slowly let its drama and setting waft over the viewer. I like how we don’t learn what state the family is in until they arrive on their first day of work and don’t know the era until they venture to the bank for the first time. We get a sense of the personalities of the central characters but also secondary ones as well, such as the Yi’s evangelical neighbor who shows kindness but also a heavy amount of religious devotion, reserving his Sundays for hauling across around the country roads.

The Yi’s journey for the American Dream doesn’t take a predictable route either. It’s a life filled with hills and valleys, where blessings and tragedies come more at random than what may seem traditionally telegraphed. Through it all, the family bond remains a constant source that keeps things together, even in the darkest of times. There’s a scene towards the end where everything seems lost but David’s simple nature of keeping everyone together keeps things in perspective.

Minari is the type of film that eases into your heart for posing relatable characters and melancholic wonderment for the struggling working class. It doesn’t take as heavy a social route as one may expect for this type of story but it also doesn’t gloss over hardships for easy melodrama. In its own meandering manner, much is said on the nature of Korean immigrants, farm life, Christianity, and the troubles of finding a balance between the desires of children and parents. It’s an exceptional piece of American filmmaking in an area that feels rarely explored.

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