May 02, 2021
The film Minari follows the first-generation Korean-American Yi family as they move from California to rural Arkansas in the 1980s. The semi-autobiographical work by director Lee Isaac Chung captures a moment of both transition and displacement in the Yi’s lives as they attempt, in the face of numerous challenges, to take root in Arkansas.
Minari comes to streaming services at a time of increasing violence towards Asian Americans. In the weeks preceding the publication of this review, a shooter in Atlanta, Georgia targeted and killed a group of Asian American women. In the past year, horrific and violent hate crimes targeting Asian Americans have soared, with Asian American advocacy groups estimating that over 3,700 attacks have occurred.
Minari is not a response to this. No single work could be expected to respond to the tangle of problems ranging from the hyper-sexualization of Asian American women to the erasure of Asian-American narratives.