HomeBad Ass AsiansSundance hit: Korean American coming-of-age film Minari

Sundance hit: Korean American coming-of-age film Minari

Steven Yeun appears in Minari by Lee Isaac Chung, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Views from the Edge

The most talked-about film out of Sundance this year is Minari, a coming-of-age story about growing up as an Asian American in rural Nebraska.
The dramatic feature won the both Grand Jury prize and the Audience Award, winning favorable reviews from the judges and the audience.

The film starring The Walking Dead‘s Steven Yeun is a movie written and directed by Lee Isaac Chung and inspired by his own childhood in the 1980s. 


After the controversy surrounding The Farewell: critics and producers should note that this is an American film telling an American story about Americans.

It’s a quiet film that slowly envelopes the audience as they get deeply involved with the family. By the time tragedy strikes, it hits the audience hard as if this had happened to their own family.

Since leaving the hit TV drama The Walking Dead, Yeun, 36, has built a solid career and is a star in South Korea as well as in the US. It was his support for Chung’s script that convinced Brad Pitt’s Plan B to back the film.

“Isaac’s script spoke to me on a deeply human level,” says Yeun, whose father moved from Seoul to Canada when Yeun was a young child. “I think he painted a portrait of a family that is so honest and truthful, so when you get to read things like that you jump at those opportunities. Jacob (portrayed by Yeun) is at once his own individual but encapsulates moments and bits of immigrant Korean men of that time. It was something I wanted to explore.”


No date has been set for Minari’s general release.

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