Postechian’s Pick : Minari
Postechian’s Pick : Minari
  • Reporter Kim Seo-jin
  • 승인 2021.06.25 20:52
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▲Minari (2021)Release DateFirst premiered: Jan. 26, 2020South Korea: March 3, 2021
▲Minari (2021)

Release Date
First premiered: Jan. 26, 2020
South Korea: March 3, 2021



Spoiler Alert: The synopsis below gives away important plot points. You may jump to the opinion section if you wish.

In the early 1980s, the Korean immigrant Yi family chooses to move from California to their newly bought land in Arkansas. The father of the family, Jacob, has an optimistic American dream of growing Korean produce on their land and selling the produce in Dallas, Texas. His wife Monica is rather skeptical about this idea and shows disappointment in the rurality of the neighborhood. She is not only worried about Jacob’s success in farming but also concerned about their son David’s heart murmur.
To take care of the children during the daytime, Jacob and Monica arrange for Monica’s mother Soon-ja to travel from South Korea. The children avoid her at first because she is far from the ideal image of an American grandmother, but soon grow fond of her. Soon-ja takes the children to a nearby creek and plants the Korean indigenous vegetable, minari.
Jacob faces difficulties in running his farm. His well dries out, the vendor who had promised to buy Jacob’s produce cancels his order at the last minute, and Monica constantly pleads to go back to California where David can visit a doctor within easy driving distance, leading to a pressuring strain in their marriage. Meanwhile, Soon-ja suffers a stroke, which impairs her physical abilities.
After a long day in which David is confirmed by a doctor that his heart condition has significantly improved, Jacob finds a new vendor to make a contract with, and Jacob and Monica decide to break up, the family comes back home to discover a devastating sight. While the family left the house for the day, Soon-ja had accidentally set fire to the warehouse where all of the fresh produce had been stored.
As time passes by, and Jacob and Monica hire a water diviner to find a spot for a new well, implying that they chose to stay on the farm together. Jacob and David visit the creek nearby to harvest the minari Soon-ja had planted.

Minari (2021)’s down-to-earth story of a Korean immigrant family surely touched the hearts of many Korean-Americans, along with immigrant families from other ethnic backgrounds. All of the underlying troubles that immigrant families must inevitably bear—the unreachable hope of striking a successful American dream, tedious physical labor, and an alien culture that must be accustomed to—were realistically portrayed.
Minari, which refers to a Korean plant, was a well-set metaphor for Jacob’s family. As Soon-ja said, “It grows anywhere, like weeds. So anyone can pick and eat it. Rich or poor, anyone can enjoy it and be healthy. Minari can be put in kimchi, put in stew, and put in soup. It can be medicine if you are sick. Minari is wonderful, wonderful!” The quote shows how the transplant family would eventually be able to “grow anywhere”, “wonderfully”, despite all of the hardships they may face during the tough immigration journey.
The acting was acclaimed by critics, resulting in many prominent awards. Most notably, actress Youn Yuh-jung, who played the role of Soon-ja, won an Oscar, a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), and a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) award. The movie itself was praised as well, winning the Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globe Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards, and much more.
Overall, the film pictured a realistic version of American immigration with high quality, resonating with many immigrant families. Minari (2021) will be acclaimed as a respected work of art in the family movie genre