Minari ★★★

Kudos for what it's not: Not a tale of plucky farmers wresting a living from the soil (it recalls Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek in The River, but more acerbic), not a tale of Asian immigrants facing racism in rural Arkansas either. Racial identity is largely irrelevant - Dad grows Korean vegetables, but it's strictly for business reasons - and the adults largely flawed, the strained bitterness in Mom and Dad's probably-doomed marriage trickling through the film like a slow-acting poison. Still a bit soporific in terms of rhythm, the Profane Grandma is a cliche any way you slice it, and I'm not sure it works to go melodramatic in the final reel while staying low-key and understated (seems a bit passive-aggressive); also, though it's obviously a good thing to have something so thoughtful and unsparing doing so well at the various awards shows, why go back to the Reagan days when farmers in America today are in such dire straits? Good luck getting a film about Monsanto to the Oscars, I guess.