Minari : A Symbol of Hope

The interesting thing about it is that it’s a plant that will grow very strongly in its second season after it has died and come back. So there’s an element of that in the film, so it grows very expansively without doing much to it. It’s a poetic plant in a way for me.

– Lee Isaac Chung


Minari is a 2020 Korean American movie, written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung. Minari which means “water celery” in Korean is a symbol of hope, happiness and strength in difficult times. This movie has received several awards like the Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA award and many more . This semi autobiographical movie by Issac Chung, revolves around the struggles of a South Korean family who migrate into to the United States to have a piece of the American dream. It is a journey of a family struggling to stay together while facing challenges.

The Yi family moves from California to a small land in rural Arkansas. Jacob played by Steven Yeun, has high hopes from the land and aims to produce Korean vegetables to sell them to the vendors in Dallas. His wife Monica played by Han Ye-Ri, isn’t really supportive of his plan at first, but later realizes that this is for her and her family’s happiness . The couple has two kids, David and Anne. David played by the child actor Alan S. Kim suffers from a heart disease because of which he is not allowed to run, do strenuous work and is always pampered and protected. Anne played by Noel Cho is a sensible girl trying to cope in the new place while always tending towards her ailing brother. Monica’s mother Soon-ja played by the veteran actor Youn Yuh-Jung travels all the way from Korea, to take care of the kids, while the couple earns money for the family.

The movie tries to portray how seemingly small decisions and actions end up leaving huge, irreparable scars on our lives. While Jacob is seen suffering to find adequate water supply for his fields , Monica and Anne find it difficult to blend into the American culture. David, the youngest in the family, isn’t very pleased with the idea of sharing his room with his grandmother Soon-Ja alike other American kids. Grandmother Soon-ja doesn’t really satisfy all the stereotyped criteria of being a grandmother according to her grandkids which leads to rocky start for their relationship. Their relationship beautifully evolves from David hating, pranking her to him running, overcoming all his fears and inhibitions to bring his grandma back home.

Every small detail is vividly displayed, thereby making the movie realistic and believable. The scene depicting Jacob choosing his farm over his family rightly depicts how we sometimes let money and insignificant things become more important than family. It also throws light on how poor relationship between mother and father affects the mental condition of their children.

The movie overall gives us a taste of how hard it is to give up one’s own country and try to settle in a foreign land. The real-life hardships make this movie easy to digest and far more understandable. The direction, acting, writing and cinematography of this movie is marvelous thereby making 2 hour long movie a treat for the eyes.

Written by: Sneha Baidya

Editor and Team Lead: Ashutosh Sharma

About The Author(s)

Chemistry major with self-proclaimed good taste in Books and Music.

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