Review: Liquor Store Dreams

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Title: Liquor Store Dreams
Director: So Yun Um
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Runtime: 1 hr 28 mins

What It Is: An intimate portrait of two Korean American children of liquor store owners who set out to bridge generational divides with their immigrant parents in Los Angeles.

What We ThinkThe opening scene in Liquor Store Dreams is a simple observation in the day-to-day of a hard working Korean liquor store owner – who just so happens to be the father of the director, So Yun Um. For what is her directorial debut, this documentary offers a wide view of many impactful events on American grounds that affected the Korean-American community, as a familial aspect slowly comes to rest on it like a warm blanket.

Yun Um interviews many of her close friends and family, diving into their stories and how they relate to the overarching discussion. Some are from past generations, and I congratulate this filmmaker on letting them say their views unedited and unfiltered, with such a raw and humanistic style. Through these interviews and her own personal journey the average viewer is going to gain insight into a culture that has blended in so well into the days of working class Americans within the Los Angeles area that it’s surprising how little we actually know about how it came to be. While seeing this communities viewpoint of riots, discrimination and racism, we also are shown how they overcome those battles and it is sincerely touching – all captured through one little camera maneuvered by curious hands.

Our Grade: B; Starting out with the intimacy of a home video, Liquor Store Dreams later steps into a much larger story encompassing subjects that are as significant as they were 20 years ago – but if there’s a film to bring those to light in a huge way, it’d be this one.

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