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Movie Review – Parasite

Movie Review - ParasiteParasite has gotten a lot of attention, but I’m not certain why. It was a good movie, but I don’t think  it’s deserving of the accolades it has gotten, and it’s certainly not worthy of a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars.

What I liked about the movie

I had no trouble keeping up with the subtitles and the action on screen. I know that’s a problem for some movies: we’re busy reading a subtitle and miss something that happens quickly on screen, or miss the actor’s expressions which are necessary for understanding the dialog. None of that was an issue in this movie.

There’s no doubt that Parasite is gripping. The pacing of the movie keeps moving and I was always wondering what would come next.

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Every actor did an outstanding job. When that happens one must give credit to the director, Bong Joon Ho, and the writer, also Bong Joon Ho. I can understand why he has an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

What is the movie about?

Very broadly, it’s about class divisions in South Korea — which by extension apply to class divisions around the entire world. This story could have worked just as well in California, Brittain, Japan, etc.

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[su_spoiler title=”Plot spoiler”]A poor family, all unemployed, gradually infiltrates an upper class families house as the hired help, and things begin to go sideways. [/su_spoiler]

What I don’t like about the movie

I’m not going to go into details, but some might consider the following a spoiler. Continue reading at your own discretion.

Some crazy events unfold, but I don’t get the sense that any of the characters change. Yes, there’s a brief flash-forward sequence that hints at one of the characters changing and coming up with a plan. But based on the character, I have no confidence that the character will follow through.

Otherwise, everyone is pretty much the same from beginning to end. In my book, that’s not how good stories progress. Either one or more individuals need to react to the events in the story to change, or the events can cause relationships to change. But by the end of this movie…nothing.

Additionally, there’s no one to root for. No one is really bad; no one is really good. Every character is trapped in their role and they stay there. Neither is there any understanding made between the upper and lower classes in this movie.

In the end, Parasite is a well-made movie, but one that doesn’t enrich the audience.

Maybe I’m just missing it. If you saw it and saw something enriching, or profound, about it then please let me know in the comments.

Grade: B-

About The Peetimes: We normally don’t do Peetimes for movies with subtitles, because it’s difficult to impossible to take Peetime notes and read subtitles at the same time, but for this movie we made an exception. I don’t use any character names in the Peetime synopses, but instead describe the character by their role. I think that will be easier to read and understand for western viewers.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Parasite. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for language, some violence and sexual content
Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama

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10 responses to “Movie Review – Parasite”

  1. What is the plot about in Parasite? I’ll probably never watch it, but everyone seems to think this is the best thing ever since since, IDK, cheese. (Because I love cheese.)

  2. I added an addendum to the review to help answer that question.

  3. Okay, thanks. Also, from the trailer and title it seems like a bit of horror, with some comedy at first. Maybe with a touch of Downton Abbey. IDK, maybe it defies genre. Probably I’ll see it eventually.

  4. Luis Ricardo Avatar
    Luis Ricardo

    Parasite is not a heroes and villains movie, a good and bad guys film. It’s a film about ordinary people, with good and bad characteristics. It’s a film about people who think according to their social class and don’t change, since their social situation hasn’t changed during the film. However, in fact there are changes of conduct in response to events in the story which lead to the climax at the end, like when a character realizes what the rich people exactly think about him. By the end, I believe that the audience can be enriched since they reflect about social privileges and how each class can be seen as a parasite from the point of view of the people from other classes.

  5. Hey Luis, Very good points. I agree with your assessment that the movie is about how classes view each other. I really think I just missed the point of the movie, especially as I was watching it. Of course, I’m more than a little distracted by taking notes during the movie for the Peetimes I need to add to the RunPee app.

    I think I’d have to watch this movie again, especially knowing the ending, to see more of the symbolism and get the deeper message.

  6. Roger Gray Avatar

    Dan, I loved this movie when my wife and I first saw it in the theater. When I read your initial review I wondered if you would change your mind if you saw it again. I think Luis did a very good job of analyzing it. He saved me a lot of time that I would have spent trying to answer your question of why I liked it. Thanks for the pee times and reviews. RunPee is a great one stop shop for movies in the theaters.

  7. There are a number of YouTube videos about this movie that go into the details of just why it’s so brilliant. I think I’ll watch one or two of those and then rewatch the movie. I have a feeling this movie will get better the more it’s watched. For most movies it’s exactly the opposite.

  8. Hmmm. Maybe I should watch this. I don’t typically like subtitled films. But everyone is talking about this movie.

  9. As I mentioned, there are some videos on YouTube that discuss what is brilliant about the story. You might get enough from just watching those and see if you want to watch the entire movie.

  10. From the trailers I think it looks pretty interesting. Thanks. I’ll let you know if i see it.

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