Minari: A Heartwarming, hilarious and optimistic must-see

Written by Molly Magennis / @mollymag3

To say I had high expectations for this Golden Globe winner would probably be an understatement. I had heard the whisperings of a certain film by the name of Minari amongst the ‘Cinema Buff’ crowd for a little while now, and as soon as I saw it had received a 4.2 rating on Letterboxd (my most trusted source). I knew I had to see it despite not really knowing the plot at all, nor really having heard much from the mainstream media. 

This is what I did last Thursday night, with my mother tailing along behind me. I honestly felt a little bit of pressure, her only expectations had stemmed from my insistence and reassurance that it had received a lot of good praise therefore it had to be good.

And spoiler alert, it was. 

Lee Isaac Chung’s family oriented drama is incredibly heartwarming, hilarious and devastating all at the same time. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Ozarks, Chung explores this semi-autobiographical story of the challenges faced by a Korean American immigrant family in the ‘80’s, with Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) portraying the patriarch who is willing to do whatever it takes to create the perfect life that his family desperately desires.

This kind of tale does so well in reaching out and touching audiences as it depicts such a familiar situation that so many people across the world can resonate with. Whether it’s a situation in which you’ve grown up, or are experiencing now, this struggle to make a living in an unknown, perhaps even a foreign place is still so relevant for so many.

Minari was so much funnier than I expected it to be, with a lot of the comedic moments starting when the Grandmother, played by Youn Yuh-jung, appears a quarter of the way into the film. The inclusion of this character was genius, and I can’t imagine enjoying this film half as much if she wasn’t in it. 

The acting across the board was without fault, and I’d like to give a particular shout out to Alan Kim who played the family’s youngest child David. Not only was he fantastic in this film, but so damn adorable. He was definitely a crowd favourite in the cinema.

The Los Angeles Times described Minari as “the movie we need right now” and I couldn’t agree more. Minari is a heartfelt, warm movie the world truly needs and deserves at this moment in time, with a family at the center who you can’t help but cheer for when they succeed and cry along with when they’re struggling. 

This film is undoubtedly a 2021 must see and a film I’m sure is going to keep sweeping up the nominations this coming award season. If you’re in the mood to see a beautifully directed, skillfully acted, heartwarming film with a looming sense of optimism that I think we all need right now, Minari is for you.

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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