‘Parasite’ is one worth watching … and reading

PHOTO PROVIDED The birthday party scene in the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” is quite memorable.

I am not a fan of subtitles. Simply put, I don’t like to read when I watch a movie.

Back in 2020 (seems so long ago), my son, Jake, was flipping through Netflix one night when he stopped on “Parasite.” I remembered that “Parasite” won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2019.

Jake knows I hate subtitles. But he asked anyway.

“What do you think, Dad?”

“No thanks,” I said. “Subtitles.”

He shot me a look. Then said, “let’s just watch a trailer.”

We’re a big fan of trailers in our house. Some nights, we will literally watch trailers for an hour or two. Why? Who knows? It’s a pandemic. Let’s chalk it up to that.

Anyway, we watched the trailer for “Parasite” and it looked pretty good.

Jake bargained with me. “Let’s watch a half hour,” he said. “If it stinks, we’ll turn it off.”

Spoiler alert: It didn’t stink.

“Parasite” is a 2019 South Korean black comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Han Jin-won. It stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong, Choi Woo-shik, Park So-dam, Jang Hye-jin and Lee Jung-eun. It follows the members of a poor family who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family and infiltrate their household by posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

It starts with Ki Woo (Choi Woo-shik) getting hired as a tutor for an affluent family. Rather quickly, he realizes that the family hires a lot of outside help. There’s a nanny, a driver and a housekeeper. Just like that, Ki Woo gets those in the roles fired and convinces the family to hire his own family. They go from folding pizza boxes to positions with an affluent family.

How they go about achieving that is a big part of the plot, so I won’t give that away.

While I often like mindless movies that don’t require a lot on my end, “Parasite” is not that movie.

There are many twists and turns in “Parasite,” so put your phone down and strap in. The film focuses on the imbalance of wealth and how those with power and money often look down on those they view as beneath them. As the poor family infiltrates the rich family’s home, you almost feel for them. Certainly, they are parasites, but each one is likable. You’ll grow to like the mom and dad as they are simply trying to get a better life for their family.

The final 10 to 15 minutes of the film are simply incredible. I’ll leave it at that.

“Parasite” premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival in May of 2018, where it became the first South Korean film to win the Palme d’Or. It was then released in South Korea by CJ Entertainment on May 30, 2019. The film was considered by many critics to be the best film of 2019 as well as one of the best films of the decade, and is the 46th highest-rated film of all-time on Metacritic. It grossed over $258 million worldwide on a production budget of about $11 million, becoming the highest-grossing South Korean film.

When awards time rolled around, “Parasite” won a leading four awards at the 92nd Academy Awards — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film. It was the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Even if you aren’t a fan of foreign films or subtitles, be sure to give “Parasite” a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

“Parasite” is rated R for adult themes, sexual situations and violence. It’s available on Xfinity OnDemand, Hulu, Vudu, Google Play and Amazon Prime Video.

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Chris Morelli is a staff reporter for The Express.


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