Parasite: A Thorough Review

The first time I heard about Parasite was when it won the Oscar for best picture. 

I was so confused. I was like, what does an antagonistic bug have to do with movies and the Oscars? Little did I know just how much this metaphorically titled film had to do with the movie world.

High off of a well spent Galentine's date the night before, my friends and I gathered in my living room to watch the critically aclaimed film the next night. To give a brief summary, the movie is about the differences between a rich family and a poor family in South Korea, taking care to focus on the social aspects of these differences and just how dire the poor family's situation is that they would resort to anything to live a better life.

A little over two hours later, my friends and I were in awe of such a brilliantly told story. We were silent all the way to the very end and did not speak until the credits began to roll. Cue the shouts of disbelief at such a good movie in this day and age, and shortly after, theories were being exclaimed animatedly as we all spiraled into easily one of the deepest and analytical conversations I've ever had.

By the end of the night, my friends and I agreed on the following (readers discretion; may contain spoilers):

1. The parasite cycle never ends 

It’s a never ending cycle. The first parasite is the poor family, the Kims, who infiltrate the rich family’s home, the Parks, and reap the benefits. Then, the Kim family learns they are not the first family to exploit the Parks, as the previous maid they got rid of didn’t tell the Parks of a hidden underground bunker so that she could hide her husband who was being hunted for unpaid debts. Finally, the parasite is the rich, who profit off the poor. But still, the cycle continues.

2. The relationship between social castes is displayed through staircases and a subtle play on heights

The Kims live in an impoverished part of town, in a cramped basement house. They have no windows except for the small windows in the living room that are level with the street outside, symbolizing their low status in society. In contrast, the Parks live in a house that is so high up, you can see the entirety of the town, and they have an entire wall of windows, indicating their high social status. Then there’s the various scenes with staircases. You see the Kims going down stairs all the time, and occasionally up as well, but the Parks only ever ascend stairs. They’re never shown going down. In fact, they don’t even know their own basement, which allows for the previous maid to take advantage of them. There is also a scene that literally shows the fall of social standing of a character when they are roughly shoved down the stairs.

3. The story ends the way it begins, but with a more dire living situation for the Kims

The movie starts with the son on the couch, searching and reaching for WiFi, and ends with him on the couch once more, reflecting on the harsh and abrupt fall from a brief moment of grace. The searching of the WiFi symbolizes the Kims’ desperation to seek a better life for themselves. Only, once they do, they barely have a moment to rejoice before they’re harshly brought down even lower than before. Where once the family of four is whole, by the end, one member is dead, another has taken the lowly place of a central character, and the remaining two are faced with the consequences of their actions and left to struggle.

All in all, Parasite has rapidly become one of my favorite movies of all time and is more than worthy and deserving of its Oscar. Riddled with symbolism and metaphors, this well-written film leaves the audience satisfied with the ending and thinking about the important things one should consider as part of society.