Minari ★★★½

Minari is a tender coming of age film that's slightly different from many of its ilk because the person who comes of age is the father. Steven Yeun is the patriarch of a Korean immigrant family who moves from California to rural Arkansas in the early 80s in an attempt to run a farm that could serve the growing Korean immigration to nearby Oklahoma. The score, by Last Black Man in San Francisco's Emile Mosseri, is fantastic and so is the sound design which fills the mobile home with chirping birds on the massive property outside. The period-specific production design, by Lee Yong Ok, is also exemplary.

I highly recommend the film, though I will be in the minority here in saying the story could've used a little bit more of an anchor. Don't get me wrong, Alan S. Kim is adorable as the seven-year old director stand-in but the middle section starts to add cute scene after cute scene with him in ways that make the film feel a little rootless in the middle. With the exception of Will Patton's Jesus obsessed farmhand none of the interactions with the locals add to the story overall and the ending feels rushed after a second act that loses some of the steam from the magnificent first act. But the final moments show the hard-headed father start to accept help from others as striking out on one's own is hard enough that it can't actually be done alone.

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