‘Minari,’ An American Story Of Uncommon Warmth And Grace : NPR

A family of Korean immigrants settles in Arkansas at Sundance favorite and Golden Globe nominee Minari.


A young family, a fresh start, lots of chicks, and a grandmother who’s got to stay – critic Bob Mondello says Golden Globe nominee “Minari” has everything it takes to be the most heartwarming film of the year.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Monica and Jacob Yi have spent the past decade in California separating male and female chicks in a chicken processing facility. It’s not the life they hoped for when they emigrated from Korea. And now that they have two young children, Jacob has promised his wife a fresh start. At the beginning of the film, Monica gets her first look at her new home, a double-wide trailer in the middle of a field in Arkansas. The kids are excited.


NOEL KATE CHO: (as Anne Yi) wheels. These are wheels. It’s like a big car.

STEVEN YEUN: (as Jacob Yi) (speaking Korean).

MONDELLO: Monica less. This farm is not the new beginning that she envisioned. Jacob, played by Steven Yeun, looks at the five acres he bought and tells the kids …


YEUN: (as Jacob Yi) David.

MONDELLO: … you will have a garden …


YEUN: (as Jacob Yi) (speaks Korean)

MONDELLO: … which gets him a little blow from his wife.


YERI HAN: (as Monica Yi) (speaks Korean)

YEUN: (as Jacob Yi) No, the Garden of Eden is so big.

MONDELLO: Writer / director Lee Isaac Chung recreates elements of his own childhood. His father moved his family to Arkansas when Chung was six years old. And the filmmaker tells this story through the eyes of 6-year-old David, who does not always understand the family tensions …


YEUN: (as Jacob Yi) (speaks Korean)

MONDELLO: … but who has a strong point of view. When Monica’s mother comes to them and brings peppers, anchovies and other Korean delicacies, David immediately reacts that Grandma smells of Korea. And after she’s been with them for a while, he decides she isn’t even a real grandma.


ALAN S KIM: (as David Yi) (speaking Korean).

MONDELLO: Real grandmas bake cookies, he says. And they don’t swear.


YUH-JUNG YOUN: (as Soonja) Oh, pretty boy, pretty boy. Quite…

KIM: (as David Yi) I’m not pretty. I look good.

MONDELLO: Sure, they’ll be friends. There is also a Pentecostal worker played by Will Patton, who knows enough about working the land to be useful, even if everything to him is religious, including planting cabbage.


WILL PATTON: (as Paul) Do you know what an exorcism is?

YEUN: (as Jacob Yi) Yes.

PATTON: (as Paul) In the name of Jesus. Out in the name of Jesus – out.

YEUN: (as Jacob Yi) (laughter) OK. Now things will grow.

PATTON: (as Paul) How come you put them so close together? You don’t want to put them as close together as …

MONDELLO: The filmmaker named his film “Minari” after a Korean herbal grandma brought along who was resilient and grows wherever it is planted – a nice metaphor for immigrant families. The Yi family certainly has its challenges. Little David has a heart murmur. Mom is not happy to be uprooted. Papa tries to prove himself. And there are natural challenges.


MONDELLO: But they are resilient and will grow. Her dream is the American dream and her story in “Minari” is an American story of unusual warmth and grace.

I am Bob Mondello.


Copyright © 2021 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website Terms of Use and Permissions Pages at www.npr.org For more information.

NPR transcripts are produced within a deadline of Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor made using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR programming is the audio recording.

Source link


Read Previous

A 10-Pound Box of Ojai Tangerines Is a Bright Spot in Deep Winter

Read Next

Son Of Conservative Media Critic L. Brent Bozell Charged In Jan. 6 Capitol Riot : NPR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *