Parasite Parent Guide
It's socially smart, well written, and well cast, but this film is also slow, odd and occasionally confusing.
Parent Movie Review
The Kim family is teetering on the edge of poverty. Living in a smelly semi-basement, they work odd jobs for rent and food and leave their windows open when the exterminator sprays the street so they can have their stinkbugs killed off for free. The son, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik), sees an opportunity for the family when his friend Min-hyuk (Park Seo-joon) goes on a study abroad program. Replacing Min-hyuk as the tutor for the wealthy Park family’s daughter, Da-hye (Jung Ji-so), Ki-woo begins bringing the rest of his family to work for the Parks.
Exploring themes of poverty, morality, and honesty, Parasite has bitten off a lot. It takes some time to chew it – over two hours – but does manage to get most of the meal down. The Kim family is eminently sympathetic, even as their behavior becomes increasingly immoral. Their journey from starvation to success is fascinating and will give audiences lots to think about. The contrast between them and the prosperous Park family is clear, and surprisingly, this is done without painting the Parks as villains, greedy fools, or heartless members of the upper class.
This movie has generated a ton of buzz, which is perhaps best exemplified by its Palme d’Or from the Cannes Film Festival. While I enjoyed the movie, I feel like I’ve got to be missing something because I simply don’t see how it merits its rave reviews. It’s a socially smart, well written, and well cast film (which does make it something of a rarity), but it’s also slow, odd, and occasionally confusing. I wonder if this is simply a case of “clueless white guy who doesn’t get Korean culture”, or if I just misunderstood part of the film.
If you’re considering taking teens to this film but are deterred by its Restricted rating, you will want to know that Parasite is on the milder end of the R rated movie spectrum. If the director had toned down the drinking and cussing and some of the blood, it might have earned a PG-13 rating. That in mind, both the swearing and alcohol consumption are used purposefully to highlight differences in class and culture, and I think the movie would be less realistic without them. As an English speaker watching the movie with subtitles, one of the only ways I could tell the difference between “high-class” and “low-class” speech was the swearing present in the latter.
Adult moviegoers who aren’t put off by swearing, particularly the 21 sexual expletives in the film, and who are interested in movies that raise issues of class and culture, might want to give Parasite a shot. It’s long, but it does give you something to think about on your way out. In my case, it was “How have I still not learned to not drink a large soda before a two-hour movie”, but you’ll probably have smarter questions. Unless you also decided that sixteen ounces of Coke Zero was a good idea…..Directed by Bong Joon Ho. Starring Choi Woo-sik, Park So-dam, Song Kang-ho. Running time: 132 minutes. Theatrical release October 11, 2019. Updated January 30, 2020
Rating & Content Info
Why is Parasite rated R? Parasite is rated R by the MPAA R for language, some violence and sexual content
Violence: A character gets his head trapped in a noose. A person is pushed down some stairs and dies. An individual is struck repeatedly in the head with a large rock, drawing blood. Two people are stabbed with a knife, and a third is stabbed with a barbecue tool. Another is cut across the arm. Some of these scenes and bloody and gory.
Sexual Content: A married couple make out on a couch; there is some sexual touching. A man grabs his wife’s backside. There is a fair bit of sex-related conversation.
Profanity: There are twenty one uses of extreme profanity, perhaps half a dozen uses of moderate profanity, and occasional mild language.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are shown drinking, sometimes to excess and becoming visibly drunk. Drunken individuals are shown urinating in public. An underage character smokes cigarettes. Characters mention cocaine and meth.
Page last updated January 30, 2020
Parasite Parents' Guide
The Kim family engages in all manner of immoral and illegal activity to provide for themselves- but they do seem to deliver on their promises. Do you think they deserved what happened to them? Were their crimes so severe?