‘Minari’ captures immigrant struggles in America


‘Minari’ was released in February of 2021 to widespread critical acclaim.

Sayan Sonnad-Joshi

Minari is an easy to grow, hardy vegetable that is popular in Korean cooking. Like the plant, in Lee Isaac Chung’s film “Minari,” Jacob and Monica Yi and their two children, David and Anne, are transplants (seeds) in an American society. 

“Minari” is the story of an immigrant Korean family that migrates to the United States during the 1980s. They arrive in California but soon leave for rural Arkansas to take up farming. Jacob and Monica, the parents, work as chicken sexers in local poultry factories, but Jacob has different ambitions. He wants to start a farm growing Korean vegetables to sell to the 30,000 Korean immigrants coming to the U.S. annually.

The story is an inspirational, touching and yet modest drama that is filled with the struggles of Korean immigrants adapting to American farm life. For the family, the struggles start from the very first scene and continue throughout. The main struggle is getting the farm running with a severely limited budget. 

However, their struggles begin from the very first scene, when they find out that their new home is a dingy mobile home, propped up in the middle of a farm in rural Arkansas. Monica is not yet sold on Jacob’s plans and is bothered by the lack of people and the seclusion of the farm. She is especially worried due to the fact that the youngest son, David, has a heart condition and that there are no doctors nearby to help him in case of an emergency. 

However, the household soon expands, and the movie takes on yet another layer of complexity with the arrival of Monica’s mother, Soonja. In the eyes of the kids, Soonja is weird due to her eccentric behavior and Korean mannerisms. David, in particular, initially takes a disliking towards Soonja, stating that, “She’s not like a real grandma.” However, their relationship soon grows, and they become much closer than before.

Throughout the rest of the movie, a lot happens. There are some scenes which will bring a smile to the audience while others will bring tears. The movie is both predictable and not predictable, adding to its intrigue and complexity.

Minari shows the struggles and successes of an immigrant Asian family that came to America. The movie itself is based on the director’s life living on a vegetable farm in rural Arkansas. The film has won many awards for its realistic portrayal of an Asian family’s struggles. At the 2021 Academy Awards, the movie was nominated for six Oscars and won one. More Asians won Oscars this year than ever before, and Minari was a contributing factor.

With the widespread violence across America against people of Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) ancestry., this movie is extremely important and relevant today The movie is a source of pride for many AAPI people, and one that they can stand and rally behind.Minari represents the life that many Asian immigrants live, and it tells their story about struggles in living out the “American Dream.”

Overall, Minari is more than a movie. It is a film that represents a large part of America that is often forgotten. The movie is brilliant in its ability to mesh powerful and gentle pieces to create a simple masterpiece.