'Minari' star Alan S. Kim will steal your heart in 2021 Golden Globe-nominated movie debut

Elisabetta Bianchini
·4 min read

Some great movies feature our favourite, seasoned actors while others create the stars we want to see in the future. This is the case for Minari and the movie's young star Alan S. Kim who gives a performance that will steal your heart, if he hasn't already.

"It was really fun being on a movie," Kim, who plays young David in Minari, told Yahoo Canada about his film debut.

He revealed that all the cast members would hug him and he even had eating contests with his co-star Steven Yeun, who plays Kim's father, Jacob, in the film — but Yeun always won.

Minari, directed by Lee Isaac Chung, is set in the 1980s and tells the story of a Korean family that moves from California to Arkansas with plans to start farming Korean produce. The title "Minari" refers to a bitter Korean herb.

David has a sister, Anne (Noel Kate Cho), and when their maternal grandma (Youn Yuh-jung) comes to live with them in the U.S., their relationship is off to a rocky start. David and Anne's mother Monica (Yeri Han) tries to support her husband, but she is not exactly sold on the farm life. David has a heart murmur, which requires regular attention and he is isn't allowed to run, due to his condition.

Chung's film has a personal connection to his childhood, the son of South Korean immigrants who grew up in Arkansas, and the genesis for the story stems from the filmmaker wanting to tell his daughter about where he came from and what his life was like as a child.

Minari is an honest and intimate telling of a story that anyone from an immigrant family in North America will understand, including the fights between Jacob and Monica as they battle between what the best decisions are to support their children's future.

While the movie certainly has touching and emotional moments, there is also humour and fun, with a clear sense of love and care in the development of these characters.

It is that balance of honest, layered storytelling that is constantly evolving that makes Minari a uniquely brilliant and captivating film.

Alan S. Kim in 'Minari' (Credit: Josh Ethan Johnson)
Alan S. Kim in 'Minari' (Credit: Josh Ethan Johnson)

In one scene, Kim's character, who is a little fed up with his grandma being around, decides to play a prank on her and he pees in her cup instead of giving her Mountain Dew.

Kim wouldn't call himself a prankster, but he did say he is more of a "scaring person." Kim admits his scaring tactics don't always work out, but he blames it on his dog when he gets caught making a noise.

2021 Golden Globes controversy

Earlier this month the Golden Globe nominations were announced, which included Minari in the best foreign language film category. The movie's inclusion in that category in particular drew public criticism, with many arguing that even though the dialogue is in both Korean and English, it is very much an American movie.

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According to the official rules from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a movie in the foreign language category "must be a motion picture drama or musical or comedy with more than 50 per cent non-English dialogue."

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Many have continued to call for a change to these rules, especially since the Academy Awards do not have the same restriction and the U.S. does not actually have an official language.

While it may not be up for the best motion picture award at Sunday's Golden Globes, there is plenty of buzz around Minari possibly taking home the top prize at the Oscars this year.

No matter where Minari falls in terms of award wins, this movie that depicts a family trying to live the American dream is a necessary watch.

Minari is available on premium digital and on-demand platforms in Canada