The movie Minari was first released in Korea on March 3, 2021, and has emerged as one of the most notable movies in the world, winning awards at the Golden Globe Foreign Language Film Awards and other famous overseas film festivals. As the movie Minari has won many awards and received various reviews, people in Korea and abroad are becoming more curious about the movie.
The plot of the movie goes like this: Jacob (Steven Yeun), a father who wants to show his Korean family who left for Arkansas, a state in the South Central region of the U.S., to overcome their economic difficulties, begins to cultivate his farm. His wife Monica (Han Ye-ri) also tries to find a new job. For the benefit of the children who are still young, Monica's mother, Soon-ja (Yuh-Jung Youn), decides to live together with this family. After grandmother Soon-ja came to live with her family, this family goes through big and small conflicts. Eventally they becomes one after through this process.
The scenario of this movie is based on director Lee Isaac Chung's autobiographical experience. Director Chung said that in early 2018, a quote from American novelist Willa Cather, "Life began for me when I ceased to admire and began to remember," inspired him to make a movie about a story in which his family itself is the main character. Director Chung also remarked that he was inspired by 'My Antonia', which contains Willa Cather's experience, and tried to approach the memories of the 1980s as true as Cather did. Therefore he wrote down the memories of his childhood in Arkansas and completed the Minari scenario. However, he emphasized that it is not just a film that shows his life as it is. Director Chung was inspired by the real people, but the actors created their own characters in their own way.
“Minari”, the title of the movie, was one of the factors that made the audience wonder what Minari means and what message they wanted to convey to them. In the interview, director Chung said that the title originated from the seeds of water parsley brought to the United States by his grandmother when he was a child. He was impressed to see water parsley grow better than other vegetables in his garden. In addition, water parsley is said to have been named “Minari” to mean love between families, in that it has strong vitality and strong adaptability. As director Chung named the movie Minari, a symbolic word for family love, the movie's viewers could easily feel the strong and warm love of the family while watching the movie. Even the actor Noel Cho mentioned in an interview that Minari is a warm film that makes each and every family member feel valued.
Director Chung also said, "The movie is a friendly and pleasant epic of a Korean family who lives with all their might, hoping that our daughter and her son's generation will happily plant and nurture their dreams." In addition, Steven Yeun, who participated as a producer and lead actor, commented about the movie title that water parsley purifies the land and the water around it, and that is what Minari means to him, giving the impression that the family in the movie provides the motive force to live together in a remote place.
Minari has drawn sympathy from both American and Korean audiences at the same time, and is receiving favorable reviews. In particular, it is said that Yuh-Jung Youn's acting played a big role in creating a warm atmosphere for the family in the movie. Capturing audience sympathies is the scene where David, who suffers from heart disease, was afraid of death and said to his grandmother Soon-ja, "I don't want to die." In response, Soon-ja sang a water parsley song to him and said, "Who dares scare my grandson, grandma won't let you die.".
In addition, there is a scene that shows the reunion of the daughter Monica and the mother Soon-ja in the United States. This scene shows Soon-ja who flew all the way from Korea to the U.S. just to take care of her daughter’s grandchildren and daughter Monica who is exhausted maintaining her life abroad in a shabby country house. After entering the house, Soon-ja takes out expensive chili powder and anchovies that she brought, which are hard to find in the U.S., for her daughter. This scene conveyed the warmth of a mother and moved the audience.
Minari is certainly a meaningful film in that it shows the reality of the American dream and conveys to the audience the hope that the dream will come true. Not only does it provide a glimpse of the reality of the American dream, but it also conveys a message that families are united as one by facing difficult processes together and trying to get through them for each other. Through this movie, the audience will definitely feel the warm love in the family's daily lives shown in the film, and the importance and affection of each family member.