Water Dropwort

Minari (Lee Isaac Chung, 2020)

This has the feel of a fable — the Yi family move from 1980s California to Arkansas to live in a static caravan where Jacob (Steven Yeun) starts a farm to grow vegetables for Korean restaurants and Monica (Han Ye-ri) works in a chicken sexing unit to try and bring more money in. After a short period, they bring her mother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung) across for childcare and Korean War vet Paul (Will Patton) helps out.

Of course, the plans don’t run to, er, plan and the market is not as large as they thought — and they discount Soon-ja’s plan to grow minari. The failure of going back to California or another big city or for Monica to leave Jacob looms over the family, as do health issues.

The odd thing — that adds to the fabular feel — is that the Arkansans display minimal racism. Aside from a brief conversation about language and flat faces with the children they are entirely accepted. Am I being prejudiced about American prejudice?

Otherwise it is utterly charming, although perhaps needed a bit of a trim.

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