When I heard that Steven Yeun was starring in a new film set on a farm, I thought it was a dark return to the less than stellar second season of The Walking Dead. Turns out it’s something much better. Film Twitter darling A24 is back with yet another release, the Korean-American drama Minari.
From American director Lee Isaac Chung, Minari follows a Korean-American family who moves to a small farm in Arkansas in hopes of a better life, no matter how hard the change is. Just from the trailer, which A24 just released the other day, it is clear that this is a wholesome family drama which after a year as bad as 2020, couldn’t be more welcome.
Alongside former Walking Dead star Steven Yeun (I’m still not over Glenn if you couldn’t tell) are South-Korean actresses Han Ye-ri and Youn Yuh-Jung who both have made a name for themselves in Korea, winning multiple awards. Already it is clear that Youn Yuh-Jung will give a stand-out performance here, as the stereotype breaking grandma who has excellent chemistry with grandson David, played by the pretty, sorry I mean good looking, Alan S. Kim, in his debut role.
Minari is already a hit with critics with the film earning a 7.9 rating on IMDb and currently has a prestigious 100% on Rotten Tomatoes after 27 critic reviews. The film has been sweeping through film festivals as well, with Minari taking home Sundance Film Festival’s Dramatic Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. Other directors are also praising Lee Isaac Chung’s work with The Farewell director Lulu Wang taking to twitter to say “Yes, I’m crying. You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this film”.
Steven Yeun isn’t just set to star in the film but will be an executive producer alongside Josh Bachove and a small-time actor you likely haven’t heard of: Brad Pitt. This combination of American and Korean culture isn’t just present in the movie itself but throughout the production. Lee Isaac Chung is a Korean director working with American film company A24. Steven Yeun is an American-Korean actor. In a recent tweet by Yeun, he said “MINARI is the story of an American family. I really hope you get to see it. This one is for everybody”. This film marks a great turning point in cinema as the culture begins to overlap, bringing people together and hopefully is the first of many.
A release date is yet to be announced but hopefully we can expect Minari in the new year.
Words by George Bell