02:05

"Minari"

The Plot: Korean-American family moves to Arkansas to farm the land in their quest for the American dream.

Why You Should Watch: Writer-director Lee Issac Chung uses his own history as an immigrant growing up on a farm as a frame for an emotionally engaging drama illustrating the American dream. While all the performances were solid, the standout for this critic was Han Ye-ri as Monica. When Jacob (Steven Yeun) moves the family from California to the Ozarks, he's excited about his tiny patch of land that he can farm. After looking at their manufactured home lacking certain amenities (like no stairs to enter easily), Monica reminds him that he said it would be different. While their two children get accustomed to their new life and their grandmother's old country ways, it's the tension between Monica and Jacob that is universal in many couples: the dreamer vs. the practical one. Jacob is clearly excited. Monica, not so much. While the family is Christian, their piety is no match for that of their farm laborer Paul, superbly played by Will Patton. When not speaking in tongues, praying for the family, or encouraging Jacob, he carries a cross down the dusty road. Much as he carries some of the emotional load for Jacob. The title "Minari" comes from a sturdy plant that can grow anywhere. Certainly, that's what Jacob tries to do and makes this film worthy of attention. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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