This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
aprilxiong’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Beautiful film; I cried. Actually didn't relate much to the film on a personal level, despite also being an Asian-American child of immigrants. Having recently read East of Eden by John Steinbeck, I got major Steinbeck vibes from this film, though of course, on a much smaller scale.
I thought the acting was superb, especially the mom, though on further reflection, Steven Yeun was probably miscast. He stands out, in a distracting way, and I never forgot that he was Steven Yeun, incredibly cool and good-looking movie star. It might have had something to do with him having to imitate a counterpart to his own dad...it's hard to see your parents for who they are as human beings.
I suppose it was a pretty conventional drama, all things considered. Yes, it wasn't subtle about its central "minari" metaphor, and yes, it did make use of many well-known conventions. But so what? Does everything have to be innovative or unpredictable or ground-breaking? I really appreciated this simple story, told in a simple way.
The only thing I didn't like was the ending, which felt completely out of left field (and let's face it, like a contrived narrative device because they couldn't think of another way to resolve the couple's issues). I was super pissed at the grandma for burning down the barn and all its crops, and yet this monumental fuck-up somehow didn't have any negative consequences?? The mom and dad had already decided to separate, and the loss of ALL of that year's crops somehow brought them closer together instead of further apart? Wtf, why? They could have fleshed that out more instead of rushing the ending and wrapping it up so quickly.
Leave the burning to Burning, a film in which Steven Yeun was actually PERFECTLY cast.
Free screening with TAP-NY. #GoldOpen