The film “Parasite” is set in South Korea and centers on the four members of the Kim family. The family is comprised of the father Ki Taek (Song Kong Ho); mother Chung Sook (Chang Hyae Jin); son Ki Woo (Choi Woo Shik); and daughter Ki Jung (Park So Dam). The Kim family reside in a sub-street level apartment that is cramped and dingy. At the beginning of the film, the family’s only source of income is making pizza boxes for a mom and pop pizzeria, but that will all soon change.
Ki Woo’s friend Min (Park Seo Jin) brings a gift to the Kim family, a large rock, that for those who believe, is supposed to bring good fortune. Additionally, Min informs Ki Woo that he has given him a recommendation to the wealthy Park family. Min had been tutoring the Park’s daughter Da Hye (Jung Ziso) in English. Ki Jung forges a document for Ki Woo which states that he is a university student.
After successfully interviewing with Mrs. Park (Cho Yea Jeong), the Kim’s each work their way into the employment of the Park family, all the while pretending not to be related. Ki Taek replaces Mr. Park’s (Lee-Sun Kyun) driver Yoon (Keun-rok Park); Chung Sook becomes the new housekeeper, ousting the long employed Moon Gwang (Lee Jung Eun) and Ki Jung, thanks to Ki Woo’s recommendation becomes the new art therapist for the Park’s young son Da Song (Jung Hyun -jun). Ki Jung doesn’t have any formal schooling in art therapy, all she knows is key buzz words and teaching strategies she’s learned from the internet, but that doesn’t stop her. Mr. and Mrs. Kim also received their employment through clever, albeit devious ways, but so as not to do a disservice to the viewer, I’ll let those of you who have not yet seen the film and want to, find out while watching.
One weekend, when the Parks go away on a camping trip to celebrate Da Song’s birthday, the Kims decide to have some fun. Chung Sook is the live in housekeeper, so she’s already at the house. The other members of the family arrive when the Parks leave. The Kims proceed to eat, drink and partake of all the things the Park’s lavish home affords them. During their fun filled time, the doorbell rings, which scares the Kim family back into reality. As it turns out, the former housekeeper Moon Gwang is at the door. While Chung Sook tells her it wouldn’t be right to let her in, since the Parks aren’t home, Moon Gwang pleads to be let into the house. She states that she left something very important behind when she moved out. The something important perfectly sets up the second half of the film.
There are two ways a viewer might feel about the film in regard to what is transpiring on screen. Firstly, the film can be viewed as something that might cause some, during certain scenes, to stir in their seat. Still other viewers, as I did, will most likely marvel at the didn’t see it coming twists in the story. The film also contains a message regarding the disparity of the way things are handled and life is lived depending on a person’s economic status.
“Parasite” premiered on May 21, 2019 at the Cannes Film Festival. The film made history by becoming the first ever Korean film to win the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes. The award is the highest given at the festival. “Parasite” would go on to win the Oscar for Best Motion Picture of the Year at last year’s Academy Awards. Furthermore, the film’s director, Bong Joon Ho, won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing. Additionally, he also won the Oscar, along with his writing partner Jin Won Han, for Best Original Screenplay, that was based on a story which Bong Joon Ho wrote. The 132 minute, subtitled film, is parts comedy, drama and thriller.
The film has an excellent ensemble cast, music that syncs up perfectly with what is taking place, captivating cinematography and detail rich set designs. The film is funny one moment and tension filled the next. “Parasite” is also the kind of film which, at least for me, and I am sure I am not alone in this, made me think long after I was finished watching the movie. In this reviewer’s opinion, it certainly deserved all the accolades and awards it received.