[ Minari ] Thanks to the myopia of the Golden Globe committee, I became obsessed with this film by Lee Isaac Chung and finally got to watch it recently.
Let’s just say that I think I know why the power-to-be are going the distance to classify it as a foreign film. (Because they just don’t get it.) Perhaps from now on, filmmakers can use this as a barometer to know they have made something wonderful, a work capable of beating any competition.
Finally Steven Yeun isn’t Lost. In fact he is excellent as Jacob, the man in the house who wants so much to be the good husband and good father. But most of all, he wants to be a good man worthy of respect.
Han Ye-ri, who is the sister we so want to have in K-drama My Unfamiliar Family, is stellar and I can’t find enough accolades for Youn Yuh-jung.
Last but not least, where did they unearth Noel Cho and Alan S. Kim?
Lovers of Korean dramas should be elated and relieved that there are enough good scripts in South Korea to keep superb actresses like Han and Youn at home.
If Minari doesn’t end up wowing the western audience, the one good thing we can all be happy with is that Han and Youn can go back to South Korea and continue their nuanced performances. Yeun should consider that too.
Why let them go to Hollywood and be relegated to the stereotypical Asian roles like supermarket checkout staff or deranged immigrant misfit? Why subscribe to this illusion, like believing that Mountain Dew is really water from the highlands, or that real grandmas must bake cookies and don’t swear?
Korean dramas can be prone to overacting but the actors prove beyond any doubt that given a good script and director, they too can hold it in, just like how young David will discover with his wee problem.
But this is not a Korean film.
It has every bit of the American dream that we tend to simplify and pigeonhole.
Yes, not everything is so black and white.
Like the minari plant(water dropworts) which is hardy, versatile, low maintenance, can be used to make kimchi or soup, and can be used as a herb; this movie will flourish despite the odds against it.