With Hollywood award season upon us, and after having seen a few of the nominees for Best Picture at the Oscars (Joker; thumbs up, The Irishman; thumbs down, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood; thumbs up, Marriage Story; Thumbs up), I decided that I would finally give Parasite a try. I’m thrilled that I did. Admittedly, I hadn’t watched any trailers and only did a quick Google search for the general synopsis. Other than that and all of the award show hype, I didn’t know what to expect.
In this South Korean film, directed by Bong Joon-ho, is visually stunning with a cast of characters that have you fully invested the entire time. The Kim family are the main characters who live in a small semi-basement apartment, with a job of folding pizza boxes and struggle to make ends meet. An opportunity arises for one member of the Kim family to get a job working as a tutor for the wealthy Park family. The Kim family of four soon begin to infiltrate the home of the Parks by posing as unrelated but sophisticated and skilled workers to the family. At this point, the film is light-hearted and fun to watch the Kim family start to have better luck and living a better life. All is going well for the struggling Kim family, until the plot takes a major turn.
While the Parks are out, the former housekeeper, comes back to the mansion. She reveals a hidden entrance to a secret bunker underneath the house, where her husband has been living in the basement bunker for over four years to hide from loan sharks. Chaos ensues as the housekeeper finds out the truth about the Kim family, and she threatens to tell the Parks if they do not, in turn, keep her secret. At this point, the Kim family will have to go to extreme odds in order to maintain their place in the Park house and survive without revealing their secrets.
The main themes of Parasite are class conflict and social inequality. The film also analyzes the use of “connections” to get ahead, especially for rich families but also for the poor Kims as well. I highly recommend this movie!
This review was published on Sunday February 9th, prior to the announcement of Best Picture at the Oscars, and I predict that Parasite will win.