Essay Example. "Parasite" Film Review

Published: 2023-04-24
Essay Example. "Parasite" Film Review
Type of paper:  Movie review
Categories:  Family Movie Relationship Social issue
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1217 words
11 min read

Parasite is a 2019 comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho and was released on May 21, 2019. Featuring South Korean characters, Parasite provides a significant plot and won the Palmer d'Or award. Through well-detailed pictures, the film delivers exceptional message concerning the lives of the people as it relates to the present socioeconomic difference between the rich and the poor. Parasite gives a tale of two families from different social classes as its creator presents comedy and drama resonating beyond its limits. Deeper into the presentation of the film, it provides the themes of aspiration, materialism, status envy, and is inclined to events of socioeconomic and politics to some extent.

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In a summary of the film's plot, it begins with the Kim family living in a stinky basement, headed by Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), the father, and Chung-sook (Chang Hyae-jin), the mother. Their son Ki-Woo (Choi Woo-Sik), who flunks the university entrance examinations and daughter Ki-Jung (Park So-dam) with an artistic skill for web-based fraud are regularly seen holding their phones near the ceiling as they pitch nearby Wi-Fi from businesses and neighbors. The drama and message of the film begin when Ki-Woo acquires an opportunity to home-tutor a rich school girl and get his sister to forge a college certificate to show that he is in school and bluffs his way in the home owned by the Park family.

Comparing the two families, they live in different situations based on their socioeconomic status. Whereas Park (Lee Sun-Kyun) is working, his wife, Yeon Kyo (Cho Yeo-Jeong), attends to their hyperactive son and daughter. Since most of the activities in Park's family rely on house helps, a chauffeur, and himself as a tutor, he hatches a plan on how he could get his family into the Park's home as workers without their consent. By creating such a plot, Bong Joon-ho shows the different socioeconomic sides of the people. However, is as much Kim family is poor and live in a flooded basement, they are outright intelligent, smart, and united compared to Park's family, who require help and turn their noses at the smell of people using the subway. This relation actualizes the film's title "Parasite" as the two families interact. With a distinct interest in the class conflict, the director, Bong Joon-ho, ensures that the tittle "Parasite" applies to characters in the film whereby the rich leech off the less fortunate family, who on the other hand survive by attaching themselves to the ruling class. In different ways, the train is used as a metaphor for capitalism within the film.

However, although Parasite is not overly political, it can be seen from the political lens as it includes various descriptions of social difference, capitalism, and other aspects affecting populations, not through how the words are used in the film but its representation of events and the way people interact with each other. As the film begins, the socioeconomic class difference is evident through the Kim family, and various aspects of political participation are portrayed. As a result of the politics occurring at the time, both the poor and the rich are trapped in a socioeconomic system where they have to relate and depend on each other for survival. The Park family relies on the Kim family for labor, while the Kim family relies on the Park family for wealth.

In a specific scene, the local government sprays the township of bug spray; however, Ki-taek asks the family to leave the windows open since it would also help them. Also, Ki-Woo and Ki-Jung are seen trying nearby Wi-Fi on their smartphones. Such incidents delivered in the film are an indication of the lives of the low-class individuals as they strive to acquire basic needs as well as enjoy the luxuries of the rich. The socioeconomic difference between the rich and the poor is mainly signified by how characters in the film react and relate to real-life situations.

Furthermore, as a representation of social inequality and class conflict in the film, various critics of the film, as well as Bong Joon-ho himself, consider Parasite as a significant reflection of capitalism in the 21st century. Describing the difficulties of life in South Korea, possibly caused by the political elites, the film analyzes how "connection" is used to progress in the society for both the rich and the poor. As the screenplay portrays other aspects like imperialism and colonialism, the capitalist economic structure is seen as the Korean colonial occupation uphold the economic system. As a motif, the staircases (upstairs and downstairs) are used to represent the nature of both Park and Kim families as they deal with the current socioeconomic difference imposed by the political systems.

Throughout the film, some of the specific details are seen as Ki-Woo finds a way to ensure that his family acquires employment in the Park family. In reference to a review made by Kermode (2020), in The Guardian, the critic establishes that, in a universe of vertical non-integration, the film finds the significant ground to define the lives of the people in South Korea during its making in the 21st century. In the review, Kermode (2020), describes how the director creates a cinematic representation where the audience can decide their specific meaning of the various messages delivered through the film.

Towards the conclusion of the film, more details are exposed as it ends with a narration form Ki-Woo about the aftermath of a fight between the two families. Ki-Woo wakes up in the hospital with head injuries, charged and on probation with his mother, his father is long gone, while the sister dies. Later, Ki-Woo climbs a mountainside overlooking the Park home, where he notices his father flickering a light. However, the film ends with Ki-Woo delivering a reply concerning how he had a new plan of helping his family.

In what can be seen as a tragic ending, Bong Joon-ho ends the film by showing the basement where it all began from a cramped window space straight to Ki-Woo, who is writing a letter to his father. Through this, Bong Joon-ho might have been showing the audience of the reality existing in the film. While the film does not directly imply on political struggles and other harmful elements in the society, Bong Joon-ho attempts to ensure that the audience can relate with his world view as he feels the terror and dread of human rights abuse, political influence, and the widening socioeconomic gap between the poor and the wealthy. Bong Joon-ho uses the film to show his view of the world.

Even though Parasite stirred different feelings among the people as a representation of the lives of people in South Korea and other nations in the world, the presentation of the real world between the rich and the poor is evident. Bong Joon-ho outlines that Parasite should not be seen as a documentary or advising the people on how to change the world, but rather, the film intends to show the weighty horror of reality. Parasite is a brilliantly scripted and well designed with a cast that ensures the film is both entertaining and delivers the particular message that Bong Joon-ho intended.


Joon-ho, B. (2019). Parasite [Film]. Barunson E&A.

Kermode, M. (2020, February 10). Parasite review - a gasp-inducing masterpiece. The Guardian.

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