In Minari, an immigrant Korean family tries to make rural Arkansas its home, in the 1980’s. In doing so, this poignantly made American-Korean drama draws you into a myriad of emotions. An adorable relationship between a grandson and grand mother. A steadfast father trying to achieve the American Dream against all odds. A mother providing the quiet strength the family in transition needs. It’s all there in this triumphant movie. If you loved Minari, you will love any of the following 9 great movies like Minari.
Love watching new releases. Here are more movies like recent movies you might have watched. Movies like Barb and Star go to Vista Del Mar. Movies like The Dig.
9 Great Movies like Minari
1 Gran Torino (2008) – Disgruntled war veteran mentors a Korean immigrant
Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a Korean war veteran. Walt is disgruntled after the death of his wife. A white neighborhood has given way to Southeast Asian immigrants, adding to Walt’s frustrations. But, when the Korean neighbor’s son tries to steal Walt’s prized Gran Torino, a car he treasures, the movie takes an unexpected but heartwarming turn. Instead of unleashing his pent up anger, Walt tries to reform the errant kid, winning acceptance with his foreign neighbors. Walt himself realizes how he has more in common with the immigrant families, more than his own alienated family.
A coming of age story in terms of accepting cultural differences. Intervention comes at a cost though. And a sub-plot of the movie explores how Walt springs to action, in ways you will not expect. A quintessential Clint Eastwood movie, our first on the list for movies like Minari.
2 The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) – A father’s struggles to success, with a son in tow
Based on a True Story, The Pursuit of Happyness chronicles the life of a struggling salesman father. Stuck with medical devices that are very hard to sell, Will Gardner (Will Smith) struggles to make ends meet. His wife leaves him. He has to care for his son, brilliantly played by Jaden Smith, Will Smith’s real son. His travails take him through soup kitchens, shelters, homelessness and a taxi ride where he has to bail on the fare. But, there is light at the end of a tunnel. A quirky job interview and sheer persistence pays off, and Will is able to finally land a job that transcends life as he knows it, for himself and his son.
A tale of triumph, told through a beautiful movie and incredible performances by Will Smith Senior and Junior.
3 The Blind Side (2009)- Adopted boy from the projects makes the NFL
Another movie based on a true story. The Blind Side narrates the story of how two wealthy white Southerners adopt a homeless teenage African-American who then goes on to play professional football in the NFL.
The plot beautifully balances how Michael Oher struggles with his background in the tough projects, how he crosses path with the Tuohy’s (Wealthy Couple) and how he makes an inspiring transition balancing school, newly made family and friends to a life with purpose. Sandra Bullock thoroughly entertains with her sharp wit and a brand of humor that will make you smile from time to time.
A story of an underdog triumphing, with the help of compassion from a place where you would least expect it.
4 Little Miss Sunshine (2006) – Wild family road trip. Destination? Kid’s beauty pageant
Little Miss Sunshine is about a dysfunctional family going on a road trip, from Albuquerque to California. Traveling in the VW Camper van are little 7 year old Olive Hoover’s mom, father, brother, grandpa and Uncle. Olive has qualified for the Little Miss Sunshine contest and carries her childlike enthusiasm throughout the movie, despite everyone else in the car struggling with various aspects with their respective lives.
A simple story line full of humor and unbreakable love for the family. There’s fantastic drama at the end, with the van breaking down but the family somehow still making it on time for the pageant. What happens at the pageant? Well, that’s the cherry on the cake for this movie!
5 Moneyball (2011) – When economics meets baseball
Critically acclaimed Moneyball features Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, GM of the struggling Oakland A’s Major League Baseball team. The Oakland A’s have just lost key players and have just a third of the budget that other teams in the big leagues have.
The movie is about how Billy innovates and changes how Major League Baseball teams are picked. Assisting him is Peter Brand, a Yale graduate who brings an economic analysis perspective to picking players. The focus is no longer on big names and celebrity players but on bringing in a team of unknown, forgotten and underestimated players to provide the runs, outs, steals and everything else a team needs to statistically win.
A brilliant plot supported by brilliant acting, a masterful script and great casting. A movie that will have you soaked in emotion, intrigue and refreshing inspiration.
6 300 (2006) – 300 Fearless Warriors against 100,000 Invaders
300 is a movie about a tale of the Battle of Thermopylae, set in 480 BC. 100,000 Persians are ready to conquer Greece. 300 Spartans stand in the way. Leonidas, played by Gerard Butler, uses the small but fearless army of 300 Spartans to block a strategic narrow passage that will delay the invasion for days on end. Helping the Spartans are a few hundred more Thespians who believe in nothing but the courage of the Spartans.
The Spartans know that their resistance will eventually be futile, but fight nonetheless. They fight a glorious battle. Honor and glory drives them, even if it is to their death. Zack Snyder’s cinematic direction will take you through cinematic battle scenes that will give you the goosebumps. If there was ever an underdog movie that you need to watch for motivation, this one is certainly it! Not a quaint movie like Minari, but the spirit is quite the same. Fight for what you believe in, come what may!
7 School of Rock (2003) – Substitute teacher helps uptight students find their rock and roll
Jack Black steals the show in School of Rock. Driven to debts and depression, Dewey (Jack Black) takes on a job as substitute teacher at a snobbish school. Dewey recognizes that the students, though not very friendly at first, have musical talent and plots a secret plan to enter them into a Battle of the Bands contest, one that can win him $10,000 in prize money, settling his financial woes quite considerably.
There’s an ample amount of humor in how Dewey transforms precocious students into loosened up rock ‘n’ roll animals who enjoy their new found identity.
A movie that will just leave you feeling good, period.
8 Million Dollar Baby (2004) – Dogged persistence and claim to fame. Will it end tragically?
Another Clint Eastwood movie in this list of movies like Minari. But, why not! Eastwood plays Frankie Dunn in this movie. Frankie is an aging boxing coach and manager who has no interest to train girls. But, hell bent on getting trained by Frankie is Maggie Fitzgerald (Hillary Swank).
Much like how grandson and grandmother have their differences in Minari, Frankie and Maggie slowly but surely develop an unbreakable bond. A beautiful relationship blossoms into a promising career. But, alas, an accident on the ring makes Maggi ask somethin of Frankie that tears him apart from the inside.
Morgan Freeman impresses in his supporting role as Eddie, assistant coach and only friend to Frankie. A movie about boxing, life, struggles and friendship. A brilliant watch.
9 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – Innocent eyes see no evil
Set in WWII, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is about 8 year old Bruno. Son of a Nazi Concentration camp soldier, little Bruno does not understand the inhumane persecution of Jews. His innocence instead drives him to embark on a friendship with an eight year old boy on the other side, the boy in the striped pajamas.
A movie that somehow finds beauty in the most depressing of times, through the eyes of a little boy who sees no evil. The climax revolves around Bruno’s helpless predicament, when his solider father is recommissioned and has to move away.
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