Minari ★★★★½

Life is precious — not promised, never permanent, it moves like wind through tall grass, ever-present and halting and beautiful in ways that we’ll forever struggle to express.

 is a memory play in form and function; calling upon bittersweet memories of its writer-director’s own upbringing, it’s a film about the transience of childhood, about the ways we’re shaped and molded by the ones we love, about how all that matters in our lives are other people: the care we give, the love we share, the many gifts we have to offer organically. It’s about the words and gestures that linger, and its writer-director captures this elegantly; the grace he discovers along dirt roads, in church pews, along the riverbank, these holy sites of communion and light and life, suggests an emotional clarity that’s not just rare but genuinely aspirational. 

We are all seeds in fresh soil, unrealized potential, and it’s only through the ministrations of those around us that we can take root and grow tall. Sprouting into the world, we are nurtured, we learn, and in return we give so much more to our loved ones than we will ever know. Each of us, in our very being, are the realization of our parent’s hopes, of their parents’ distant dreams, and the hearts in our chests carry forward all that love in ways that enrich us and them alike.

 is one of those seeds, too, even as it realizes the potential of all those involved and captures something truthful and tender beyond measure in a way only a select few films can — in those lights, it feels too wise, too moving, too indelibly beautiful to be considered in any sense small. But it is, assuredly so, in the boundless love and compassion it so gracefully tends in the fresh earth of its audience’s members, praying this too will take, that this will grow, that something will be carried forward still, and life will carry on, precious as it’s ever been.

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