llllhy’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I was younger, there were times when we’d go years without seeing my grandparents’ faces. The few times they were able to visit, they always brought anchovies, chili powder, banchan, expensive Korean medicine in the form of nasty drinks, and seeds for Korean vegetables. And while my brother and I loved our grandparents, there were moments when we’d get annoyed at them - how they stuck out like a sore thumb, how they disrupted our routine, how Korean they were. Yes, they smelled like Korea.
Minari is so accurate in the emotions and scenarios it depicts that although it’s set decades and miles away, I’ve lived many of the experiences and emotions shown. Nearly every single sentence spoken in the film is one I’ve heard before in my own life.
The mother reminds me of my own mom, the grandmother reminds me of my own grandmother. I’ve been disciplined by my parents the same way, scolded my grandmother for doing seemingly unsafe things. My grandparents play the same card game, call us the same endearing names. We’ve clung to Korean TV and food like a lifeline, we’ve been to white churches. I’ve heard my parents fight in a similar way.
Every single second of this film is Korean-American. Not just Korean, not just American. I could never feel this seen watching any Asian American or Korean film. I’ve realized that the life I (and millions of others) live is so unique in that way. The emotions of seeing such integral moments that make up my life, on screen for the first time ever, is volcanic. I never realized how beautiful the blend of Korean and English - our own personal language that I’ve heard and used all my life - could sound.