Minari

This is a beautiful film. I loved the family. There is such warmth. I loved the granny most of all.

Minari is the story of Jacob and Monica, who chase the American dream by settling down to make their own farm in Arkansas. Their two children David and Anne take to it and love discovering this rural bounty, as a change from the city in California. Their grandma soon joins them, and they get to work on their future.

The drama in the whole film hangs on how invested you are in seeing this family succeed. This little nuclear family, 2.5 kids, adrift in a sea of fields, cling together and attempt to thrive in a new element. This film wouldn’t work were it not for the warmth that radiates from their little home, and how endearing the characters become. Only then can the peril of such everyday stakes such as debt and drought take such a riveting hold.

I loved the relationship between David and his grandma. She is brilliant. She sits around watching wrestling, teaches him how to play cards, and swears when she loses. He is shy of her at first, thinking she is not like the grandmas are on tv, but eventually warms to her as she encourages his more adventurous and mischievous nature, and they become close. Makes your heart ache.

It reminds me of things like Jean de Florette and Willa Cather’s book O Pioneers! because despite being set in the 1980s, the message of toil, sacrifice, and attempting to build a better life for yourself and your family is timeless.