MINARI*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film opens with the Yi family – parents Jacob (Steven Yeun) and Monica (Han Ye-ri), plus kids Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and David (Alan Kim) – arriving at their new home in Arkansas. While Monica is none too thrilled about their trailer that rests on cinder blocks, Jacob shows the kids the big land space where he plans to grow crops.
The couple gets a job working at a factory where they identify the sexes of newborn chicks. Additionally, David is shown to have a heart condition that Monica checks him for constantly. They must bring Anne and David to work with them since they have nobody to watch them. Jacob tries to assure the family, especially David, that they made the right move coming from California to Arkansas.
Later that night, Jacob comes in from a storm outside. He tells them that there is a tornado watch in the area, but since it’s just a watch and not a warning, he doesn’t think they need to go anywhere. Monica starts arguing with him over the spot they have moved to and how an unstable home like theirs can be damaged in the event of an actual tornado. Anne and David go into their bedroom and make a paper airplane to get their parents to stop fighting.
Jacob brings David to meet a man religious man named Paul (Will Patton) to help him with growing his crops. He comes off a bit crazy, but is hoping to prove himself useful to Jacob. Paul offers Jacob a dowsing to find a good watering hole, but he goes off with David and finds one on his own. He is confident that the produce he grows will provide for the family further down the line.
Monica makes preparations for the arrival of her mother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung), whom David has not met. He also appears hesitant for her arrival since he knows his parents have arguments over her. When Soon-ja does arrive, David refuses to greet her or accept snacks that she offers him since she doesn’t fit his idea of what a traditional grandmother should be. Still, Soon-ja shows patience with the boy. Even when his parents attempt to discipline him for his behavior, Soon-ja tells them not to do so.
While Jacob and Monica are at work, Soon-ja bonds with the kids by playing a card game (where she drops some salty language) and then takes them for a walk outside. She shows them a spot in the woods where she wishes to plant minari seeds. Soon-ja explains to the kids that minari plants are useful and can grow to be prosperous.
Jacob sees that Monica feels lonely in their new home even with her mother around, so he opts to take the family to a mostly white church. They are greeted well enough by the adults, and David befriends another boy. When they ask for a playdate, Monica tells them no. On their way home, they drive past Paul walking down the road with a large wooden cross.
While home alone with Soon-ja, David gives her a cup that he peed in. After she drinks it, she chases him outside into the woods, but he stops running when his heart starts acting up. Jacob and Monica reprimand David for his actions, Soon-ja is quick to forgive the boy.
Jacob runs into a problem when the well he dug up runs dry. Although he initially refused to pay for county water, he now has no choice. He becomes so exhausted from working outside all day that he needs Monica’s help to undress and wash himself. Their continued financial struggles makes the strain on their marriage grow. To make things worse, a vendor from Dallas who was originally set to buy Jacob’s produce has canceled his order, making Jacob frustrated.
Anne tries to get David ready for the church bus, but he injures his leg, and Soon-ja tends to his wound. She tells David he is the strongest boy she has ever seen, and David starts to really feel close to his grandmother. She takes him for another walk near the woods where they see that the minari plants are growing well. They also gather water from the creek to bring back to the house. Monica chastises Soon-ja for having David exert himself since it could make his heart worse. That night, when David can’t sleep, Soon-ja offers him an alternate prayer over his usual one. David then sleeps next to her for the night.
In the morning, Anne and David find Soon-ja partially unresponsive after suffering a stroke. They go to church and spend time with the other kids there while Monica takes Soon-ja to the hospital. Later, after bringing Soon-ja home, the family invites Paul over for dinner, where he blesses the house and prays for Soon-ja.
Jacob and Monica take the kids into the city for David’s heart appointment, while Jacob also tries to make an opportunity to sell his produce. As they await the results for David, Jacob and Monica have another argument where Jacob essentially admits that he cares more for the success of his crops and produce than he does about keeping the family together, leading the two to agree that they should split up. They are then called in to talk to the doctor, who says David’s condition is improving. Jacob then meets with a Korean grocer and makes a deal to sell to him.
When the family drives back home, they find that Soon-ja has accidentally set the barn with their produce in it on fire. Jacob attempts to salvage his produce, but the fire grows out of control and they have to leave everything in there. Soon-ja starts walking away in a daze, but David and Anne run after her and guide her back home. Jacob is distraught but stays with his family when he realizes they are more important. They sleep together on the floor of the living room while Soon-ja watches.
With help from Paul, Jacob finds another well to start growing from. He later goes by the creek with David to pick the minari plants that Soon-ja grew.
The Yi family - Jacob, Monica, and kids Anne and David - move from California to Arkansas where Jacob hopes to grow and sell Korean produce that will keep the family afloat. However, Monica doesn't like it there and thinks they were better off in California.
Monica's mother Soon-ja comes to visit, and David is initially rude to her since she doesn't conform to his idea of what a traditional grandmother should be. However, David soon warms up to her when she proves to care for him.
The family encounters problems such as Jacob's well running dry, and a vendor he planned to sell to cancel his order. Soon-ja suffers a stroke and has her speech and movement impaired. After traveling to the city for a doctor's appointment for David (he suffers from a heart condition), Monica argues with Jacob after seeing that he was looking for another opportunity to sell produce. They realize that Jacob cares more for the farm's success than the welfare of the family, and they agree to split up. However, they go home to find that Soon-ja accidentally set the barn with produce on fire, and they lose all the produce, but Jacob chooses to protect his family. The kids also get Soon-ja to come back when she starts walking away in shame.
Jacob attempts to regrow his crops while he and David go by the creek to pick minari plants that Soon-ja had grown there.