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89. Minari; movie review

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Title : 89. Minari; movie review
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Cert TBA
115 mins
BBFC advice: TBA

At last! I have discovered a silver lining to the Covid pandemic.
In 'normal' times I would have driven more than 150 miles to Swansea to watch my football team lose and the Glasgow Film Festival would not have even been on my radar.
Instead, I watched the match from my armchair and then took in Minari, the opening film of the aforementioned festival plus Q & A with its director.
This family drama has been much-lauded and I can certainly see why.
Lee Isaac Chung's film is largely autobiographical and delves into the frail dreams of a Korean family who began a new life in the United States in the 1980s.
It stars Steven Yeun as Jacob who moves his wife and two children to Arkansas where he aims to start up a farm.
His marriage to Monica (Yeri Han) is also under great strain and is tested to breaking-point when she realises their new home is little more than an extended caravan.
Their relentless sniping and fighting are offset by the comedy provided by their seven-year-old son (Alan S. Kim) and his grandmother (Yuh-jung Youn).
The little boy has a serious heart condition but that doesn't stop him from being impish especially towards the foul-mouthed yet warm-hearted septuagenarian.
The relationship between the two offers warm relief to the downward spiral of his parents whose financial worries become progressively deeper as more money is ploughed into the fledgeling farm.
Further humour and pathos are added by a fanatically religious farmhand, played with gusto by Will Patton.
Let's be honest, Minari is a fair low-key film with only a few head-turning moments. However, I was attracted by how real it felt and how keen its observations were.
This is because it has been a labour of love for Chung who admitted in the Q & A that his toughest audience for the movie was his own family who he feared would not like it or even be offended by it.
However, they loved it, believing that he had captured the difficulties of an immigrant family trying to establish themselves.
I can happily declare I fell for its charm too.

Reasons to watch: Beautifully drawn characters
Reasons to avoid: Low on action

Laughs: Three
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 8/10

Did you know? In 2017, approximately one million Korean immigrants—the vast majority from South Korea, with just a tiny fraction from North Korea—resided in the United States, representing 2.4 per cent of the 44.5 million immigrants in the country

The final word. Lee Issac Chung: "I would not have had the luxury to pursue this if it weren't for the sacrifices they (his parents) made."

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