The Oscar Season is here with just about a week to go for the Big Night. And so this weekend I thought of reviewing one of the front runners for Best Picture at the Academy Awards this year along with Nomadland which is the Korean language film Minari. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Set in the 1980s in US, Minari is the story of a Korean family who shifts to the countryside for better farming opportunities. How the family copes up with newer challenges is what forms the rest of the story. The story is heartfelt and almost sacred which will appeal to most Asians. Since the family is a Korean family, the set of values are same which makes it even more relatable. The screenplay is slow paced but very well written. On the face of it, it might be a story of a family coping with newer obstacles but at the heart of it, it is about relationships between generations. One particular one stands out between the grandmother and that little boy that made me remember my own grandma who also had paralysis like the grandmother in the movie. There is this melancholic thread that is maintained throughout and at the end of it, it leaves the audience with a lovely message – that at the end of it, it is Our Family is who sticks together through thick and thin. Such a well written screenplay.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are minimal but they are quite impactful. The BGM is so beautiful it stays with you as an after taste long after the movie has ended. The film is also said to be the semi autobiography of the director Lee Isaac Chung and his direction is brilliant. He brings out real emotions that are subtle and not in your face.
The performances are brilliant. Noel Cho as Anne the protective elder sister is simply too good. Steven Yeun as Jacob is everything what Asian fathers generally are and he is fabulous. The mother essayed by Yeri Han is the conflicted character here with so many layers and different emotions, she portrays each one beautifully. Which brings me to my two favourite characters. Yuh-Jung Youn as the grandmother is such a sweet character and such an endearing one that made me recall my days with my grandma which are unfortunately cut short now. And the little boy David essayed by Alan S Kim is such a cute character. Any growing kid could be equated with him, with minimal dialogues and maximum impact his character is a winner throughout.
Minari, a metaphor for a plant that will grow strong in its second season after it has dried up in the first season much like the family in the movie, is a beautiful movie that gently tugs the strings of your heart. I expect it to win big at the Oscars next week. Watch it in a theatre near you.