Movie Review: Minari


The new movie “Munari” reminded me of several others in the last few years, where parents who are barely surviving (the couple in this movie have jobs where they separate baby chicks by sex into boxes) bring their children along for the ride. The point is, if you are an adult and unable to make a living – then do not have children. Its always been just that simple.

Munari is a heartbreaking story about a Korean family mired in poverty and trying to break out of their plight by starting a farm in a field somewhere in the Midwest, all the while living in a run down tractor trailer that had some furniture and plumbing in side. Somewhat like the devastating movie The Florida Project, released in 2017 about young children being raised in a hellish-purple apartment building in Florida, Minari is also told within the perspective of two young Korean children, Anna and David, where David has a dangerous heart ailment. Children have no way of fully understanding, and have no perspective about poverty and squalor. All they know is that they have parents and an innate ability to look at the world in a way that allows them to survive. For me, the naive innocence of children living on the edge is the most devastating part of both of these films.

The father Jacob, is played by very well by Steven Yeun, who is most famous for his years on the TV series “The Walking Dead” and his horrific end that came from the side of a large baseball bat. The mother, Monica is also played very well by Yeri Han, who is always at the edge of taking the kids and leaving her husband to possibly avoid financial disaster. Their arguments about their many problems and lack of money create some of the best acting in this movie.

What bothered me about this depressing story about a Korean family close to becoming homeless is Jacob’s plan of running a farm is backed by bank loans – and what bank would give him money to do this? His only source of income, is sorting baby chickens (known as chicken sexing) with his wife, his collateral is his house which is the back of a tractor trailer, and his land looks like an abandoned field. Somewhere along the line, all movies have to make sense as well as entertain and educate and I think this bank loan part of the story just did not work in the real world.

It was very surprising to see the actor Will Patton in this Korean movie with subtitles, where he plays the character Paul who an almost insane religious fanatic who helps with the farm and on Sunday, carries a large cross on his shoulder while going to church. This definately is something I have ever seen any character do in any movie – except for films about Jesus Christ and the crucifixion.

Minari is one of the 10 films nominated for an Academy Award this year, and has very a very high 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. My rating is more in the 85% rating and I do recommend this film.

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