Caution: This post contains spoilers for Parasite (2019).
Parasite (2019), directed by Bong Joon-ho tells the story of the Kim family who live a life of poverty and work low-paying jobs to make ends meet. The brilliant, humorous yet dark, chilling and suspenseful drama thriller is a powerful and compelling observation of the social and class inequality in South Korea. Director Bong Joon-ho who is known for making films that not only tackles difficult subjects but also defies the typical categorisation of genres, previously directed The Host (2006), Snowpiercer (2013) and the Netflix Original Film, Okja (2017), which are arguably some of his best known works.
In Parasite (2019), the Kim family consists of the patriarch of the family, Kim Ki-taek, his wife Choon-sook, their son Ki-woo and their daughter Ki-jeong who all live together in one cramped basement apartment. They make a meagre living by folding up pizza take-away boxes for the local pizza delivery place, use the wifi of the nearby shops to receive text messages on their phones and leave their windows open when there’s a bug extermination being carried out outside to help with the bug infestation in their apartment. Things do take a turn for the better for this family when Ki-woo’s friend comes to visit and offers him a job filling in as a tutor for the wealthy Park family whose daughter he tutors in English, while he moves abroad to further his studies.
Ki-jeong puts her computer skills to good use and helps her brother fake his qualifications in order to secure a job as the Park daughter’s new English tutor. After changing his name to “Kevin” and beginning his life tutoring Park Da-hye, he devises a plan to get the rest of his family employed with the Park family. Having convinced the mother, Park Yeon-kyo that her son would benefit from art lessons, he recommends she takes in his friend, “Jessica”, who’s really his sister, Ki-Jeong as an art tutor. With his plan in tact, soon enough the entire Kim family is at the Park family’s residence; him as the daughter’s English tutor, his sister as the son’s Art tutor, his mother as the family’s new housekeeper and his father as the family’s new personal chauffeur.
Things have certainly taken a turn for the better for the Kim family now that they are all employed under one household. But of course, when things seem almost too good to be true, they discover something sinister lurking underneath the Park family’s beautiful home and get caught up in a huge mess.
The film was recommended to me by a good friend of mine so going off of her recommendation, the many tweets popping up on my timeline mentioning the film and having watched the trailer online, I dragged my boyfriend out on a movie date to watch Parasite (2019). I went into the cinema, not knowing what to expect but I did have high hopes for it, knowing there will be a plot twist when the film reaches its climax, and that’s as far as my friend told me when I asked her about the film. What I did not expect however, was there to be several plot twists in this film! I was kept at the edge of my seat as the film progressed: one twist and turn at a time.
Bong Joon-ho treated the film’s difficult subject matter with such care and attention. This film really resonated with me and I left the cinema that day, reflecting on the film’s message. What is the parasite, or rather who is the parasite in Parasite (2019)? To answer that question for yourself, make sure you watch the film for the answer.