Even though midterm exams have ended, many Kingos are still exhausted due to overwhelming assignments; however, the movie Minari will help warm your exhausted minds. Minari attracted attention globally through many awards ceremonies as actress Youn Yuh-jung won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress on April 25th. This movie is about the lives of immigrants in the 1980s and illustrates a family who endures difficulties like the water celery’s vitality. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) would like to introduce Minari and discuss the widespread attention.
Introducing the Film, Minari
-Basic Information About Minari
Minari, which was released this year on March 3rd in Korea, is a story that depicts the struggles of a Korean family as they immigrate to a small farm in Arkansas in the southern part of the United States (US). Lee Issac Chung, the film’s director, said that the story is a true story of his family, but his experience was harsher than the movie depicts. Thus, Minari gained the sympathy of many overseas Koreans and international immigrants.
|Minari Poster (hankyung.com)|
-Summary of Minari (*Spoiler Alert*)
The story begins as a Korean immigrant family moves to Arkansas for the father Jacob’s farming job. However, the mother, Monica, does not like their new home. As they are busy working, Soon-ja, the grandmother, decides to come to Arkansas to live with the family and to take care of the children, David and Anne. She brings a bag of chili powder, herbal medicine, and water celery seeds from Korea and teaches David and Anne how to play hwatu, Korean poker. From this, David and Anne grumble about how Soon-ja is not like other grandmothers because they are uncomfortable with her Korean sentiment. Meanwhile, Jacob and Monica have frequent arguments about the future of the family. Monica thinks that Jacob only cares about himself, but Jacob thinks that Monica does not understand his sincere goal of bringing success to the family. They eventually confront the possibility of divorce, but at this very moment, a fire breaks out at the farm’s warehouse due to Soon-ja, which oddly helps the family become more united after this incident.
The Symbol of Water Celery
Since water celeries grow well like weeds just by sowing their seeds, Soon-ja tells David that water celeries are “wonderful.” The movie’s water celery symbolizes Soon-ja’s role in the family and the family who tries to adapt to the new environment.
➊ The Role of Soon-ja
Jacob and Monica, first-generation immigrants, endured living in a foreign country through Soon-ja who brought the Korean sentiment. However, David and Anne, second-generation immigrants, feel uncomfortable with the Korean sentiment from Soon-ja. Still, they soon get closer to her and have a wonderful time together. Soonja helps to unite the family, metaphorically expressing the water celery that adapts to a foreign country well.
|Soon-ja and David Talking about the ‘Wonderful’ Water Celery (hankookilbo.com)|
➋ The Family Overcoming Difficulties
The fire in the farm’s warehouse burnt all the crops that Jacob strived for, and the whole family was devastated. At first, Jacob did not glance at the water celeries that Soon-ja planted; however, after the fire, he goes to the water celery field and digs them out which represents his life’s turning point. The scene portrays that many immigrants face harsh circumstances, but that is only a small part of their journey, and they can eventually adapt to that new environment like the well-growing water celeries.
Moving Points of Minari
-The Meaning of “Family”
Through various scenes, the movie lets us think about what family is. Due to Soon-ja’s mistake, the crops that Jacob grew to support the family and to prove his ability were all burnt. Soon-ja thinks she ruined everything, so she unconsciously walks to the forest. However, David and Anne stop her and convince her to go back home together. The scene shows that even though Soon-ja made a mistake, David and Anne open their heart to Soon-ja because they are “family.” Also, the movie depicts conflict of each character, but family strengthens them and becomes the driving force of their lives. To be specific, Jacob takes risks for success while Monica seeks stability for the family. Anne tries to bear the burden at an early age, and David does not initially like his grandmother, but Soon-ja tries to unite the family. Everyone’s burden is different, but a family’s existence helps overcome difficulties together.
|The Movie Director and Soon-ja’s Family (tbs.seoul.kr)|
-This is OUR Story
The movie depicts the image of a Korean immigrant family who tries to live their lives; however, it eventually illustrates general immigrant lives. The US particularly was the socalled country of immigrants after the 1980s. Therefore, many immigrants were touched by the movie because the family was a representative reflection of their past harsh lives. Also, the meaning of family is a common sentiment that we all share. People can sympathize with the fact that they can revitalize and live their lives due to family love.
Minari introduces an immigrant family who resolves all the conflicts that they confront like the water celery, which grows and adapts well in any situation. Everyone faces fatigue and challenging moments in their lives. Young people who currently live in the harsh world have their own personal burdens. Through Minari, the SKT hopes for their hearts to be warmed and healed.
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