Parasite: A Movie That Highlights The Economic Disparities in Society


Veronica Sierra

Winning four categories, sweeping major awards at the 92nd Academy Awards, Parasite not only entertains but also depicts the hopes and disparities of reality. 

“Parasite” was released on October 5, 2019,  and was positively acclaimed by critics receiving a total score of 96 on Metacritic. The success of this movie surprised audiences because it is the only non-English speaking movie that has won an Academy Award for best picture and other more international recognitions. 

When asked about the intended success for Parasite, the renowned South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho, also known for his worldwide recognized movies such as Snowpiercer (2013) and The Host (2006), said in an interview, “I’m just a very strange person. I just did what I’ve always done with great artists, producer (Kwak Sin-ae), and my co-writer (Han Jin-won) and all my actors. It was the same process making this film, but we’ve had these amazing results.”                                               

In the movie Parasite, the Kims’ are a poor family in South Korea, gradually infiltrating the home of the Parks, a wealthy family. As the movie progresses, the Kims become more a part of the Park family until an unexpected turn of events threatens to expose them. 

Ki-woo, the son of the Kims finds a job as a tutor in the house of the Park family. During the film, he infiltrates his own family in the house of the wealthy family by getting them jobs, without letting the Park family know.

Watching the film I couldn’t be more intrigued by the family and Kim’s intentions of infiltrating in the Park family’s house and the feeling to know what was going to happen next was inevitable. The humor played a huge role in this movie through compromising scenes like between Mr. Park and his wife while the Kims were hiding under the table. 

The film highlights the disparities in social classes that director Bong Joon-Ho wanted to showcase. Bong emphasized his main point by showing the parallels between the Park family’s wealthy household compared to the Kim family’s humble household, which makes a contrast with real life in South Korea where the wealthiest have a huge difference compared to the low middle-class people, in real life a study found that 48.6% of South Korean senior citizens live in poverty.  

Bong provided a keen social critique about millionaires having a despective attitude towards low middle-class people, and these people create a certain resentment towards the millionaires. One example of these parallels is when the wife of the Park family expressed her disgust of the smell coming from poor people or when she was happy that it was raining disregarding how terrible it was t for the poor families since it would ruin their houses.

“There are people who are fighting hard to change society. I like those people, and I’m always rooting for them, but making the audience feel something naked and raw is one of the greatest powers of cinema,” said Bong Joon-Ho about Parasite in an interview for Vulture.

The purpose of Bong was to show the explosive reality to bring awareness of these social disparities.

The film has been classified as 99% on Rotten Tomatoes which demonstrates a good acceptance from the audience. Most critics have also described the movie as “satisfying”,  “beautifully acted”, and “breath-taking.” 

The movie overall was intriguing and fascinating, it is the type of movie where viewers won’t fall asleep. The acting was so convincing that it felt natural and it was admirable that Bong Joon-Ho made this film absorbing. 

The character development was amazing during the entire film. It’s incredible how the Kim family was nimble by infiltrating themselves into the Park family household, a lifestyle that they always wished for and it displayed an example of what avarice can do even though the film is in another language, viewers can deeply connect with the movie. As Bong-Joon Ho said in his own words during his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes of this year, “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”