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Parasite (R)
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This came out in 2019, and I saw it in 2021. It received tremendous critical acclaim and won a bunch of awards, including the 2020 Oscar for Best Picture. Because of all the accolades and great reviews, I was quite looking forward to seeing it. I finally got around to it because I knew the Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror was doing a parody of it in 2021, and I wanted to actually see the movie before watching that episode. And... I definitely think it's a good movie, but I'm afraid I couldn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped to. Supposedly its main theme is the injustice of the wealth gap in modern society, which I think is a pretty universal theme (in this instance set in South Korea). And I am all about social justice, so I'm definitely down for anything taking on classism, but somehow this movie just didn't really do it for me, in that department. I'm sure the critics who praised the film are right and I'm wrong, but it's just how I felt. Not to say I didn't see the unfairness of different classes, but I didn't think the film truly made the injustice of it as clear as it could have. Aside from that, the first half of the movie is basically a comedy, but I found it only slightly amusing. The second half of the movie is a thriller, and I found that part more interesting, but no more so than a lot of other thrillers I've seen.

Anyway, it's about two families, the Kims (who are poor) and the Parks (who are rich). The 20-something son of the Kims, Ki-woo, has a friend named Min, who is an English tutor to the teenage daughter of the Parks, Da-Hye. Since he's going to travel abroad, he recommends Ki-woo as his replacement. (He expects Ki-woo wouldn't make any moves on Da-Hye, since Min hopes to ask her out once she starts college. But Ki-woo and Da-Hye do start a sort of relationship, basically just kissing during their study sessions. This is one thing I didn't like about the film, not just because Ki-woo was betraying his friend, but because the age difference made it inappropriate behavior.) But otherwise, the job goes well, and Ki-woo eventually recommends his sister, Ki-jung, to become an art teacher for the Parks' rambunctious young son, Da-song. But, just as he calls himself "Kevin" while working with Da-Hye, he calls Ki-jung "Jessica", claiming that she's a classmate of his cousin. Things go well for her, too, and she eventually tricks the Parks into firing their driver and hiring her father, Ki-taek as a replacement. Once again, he's presented as someone unrelated to either Ki-woo or Ki-jung, although he does use his real name, Mr. Kim. (Presumably the Parks know that Ki-woo's surname is also Kim, but I suppose that's not important.) Later, the Kims trick the Parks into firing their long-time housekeeper (who had also been housekeeper for the former resident of the Parks' extravagant home, a famous architect who had designed it himself). And then they trick the Parks into hiring Mr. Kim's wife, Chung-sook, as their new housekeeper. So now all four Kims are working for the Parks, who have no idea that any of them are related. I don't really understand why hiding that fact was necessary, but that's where most of the humor comes from.

Halfway through the movie, the Parks decide to go on a camping trip for their son's birthday, and the Kims take advantage of their absence to enjoy the house. But then the former housekeeper, Gook Moon-gwang, shows up saying she'd left something in the basement. Chung-sook, the only one who's supposed to be there, lets her in, while the other three hide. Eventually they all follow her down to a hidden bunker that's accessible through the basement, which the Parks don't know exists. There they discover a secret Moon-gwang has been keeping for years, but I don't want to say what that is. I'll just say this is where the thriller part of the movie finally begins, as Chung-sook threatens to reveal Moon-gwang's secret, but Moon-gwang discovers the Kims' secret, which she also threatens to reveal. And then the Parks come home early because of a monsoon, so all the Kims except Chung-sook must hide, after trapping Moon-gwang in the bunker.

Well, some more terrible stuff happens after that, but I don't feel the need to reveal any of it. So, I don't know what else to say about the movie. It's just very dark and disturbing, and I felt bad for pretty much everyone in the film. I just wish I could have found the whole thing more entertaining and/or enlightening than I did. Because I'm sure it's objectively a lot better than my appreciation of it. But at least I thought it was okay.


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