Ever since it became one of a handful of movies to win both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, I've been dying to see Minari. Like many movies to win in both categories, it's a challenging film about the minority experience in America, which has specific differences and sad commonalities. Past double winners included Fruitvale Station and Quinceañera.
This is the fourth film from Lee Isaac Chung, the son of Korean immigrants. Drawing heavily on his childhood, it's the story of a man (the great Steven Yeun) who moves his wife, two children, and mother to rural Arkansas. They have a mobile home, some farmland, and the American Dream, but all of that might disappear if they can't get their crops growing. They'll have to adjust to the climate, the challenging work, and the deeply religious and almost exclusively white community they've adopted.
The film got universally positive reviews out of Sundance and has played (virtually or otherwise) at several other festivals this year. Produced by Brad Pitt's Plan B Productions and distributed by A24, it's hard to imagine the film not competing for awards during this extended and unusual season. Alas, the trailer doesn't reveal a release date. But if I had to speculate, it will open in very limited release near the end of December and go wider (and possibly hit a streaming service) in January. But the sooner we can see it, the better.