What's All the Hype Around 'Parasite'? Here's What the Movie Is About (SPOILERS!)
*Spoiler Alert: This article contains massive spoilers for Bong Joon Ho's 2019 film, Parasite.*
Everyone's been telling you to go see Parasite, and with its recent Golden Globes win for Best Foreign Language Film, you'd better get yourself a screener before the Oscars come around because it's bound to rack up more awards there.
But even with all the coverage, you're probably still asking the question, What is Parasite about?
To be perfectly honest, it's better if you watch the movie without knowing anything at all about it because surprises abound and the less you know now, the better.
But if you can't contain yourself or need some convincing, read on to find out more about one of the best movies of the year.
What is 'Parasite' (2019) about?
Parasite follows the members of a poor family, the Kims, as they lie their way into jobs at the household of the very wealthy Park family. The story starts when the son of the poor family, Kim Ki-woo, is recommended as an English tutor for the daughter of the Parks.
In time, he brings his sister, Kim Ki-jeong, in as an art teacher, his mother, Kim Chung-sook, as the housekeeper, and his father, Kim Ki-taek, as the family's chauffeur.
But the Parks are never aware that their domestic help is all part of the same family. You would think that the title of the movie is about this parasitic arrangement, but then the movie takes a sharp turn.
Warning: Crazy spoilers ahead...
One night, when the Parks are away on a camping trip, their previous housekeeper Moon-gwang (who the Kims had fired by exploiting her allergy to peaches and claiming she had tuberculosis) shows up to the house and reveals that her husband, Geun-sae, has been living — in secret — in a hidden bunker under the Parks' home.
While Moon-gwang is pleading with the "new housekeeper" (aka, Kim Ki-woo's mother, Chung-sook) to keep her and her husband's secret, Moon-gwang inadvertently discovers the Kim family secret: that they are, in fact, a family, posing as strangers.
This leads to a physical fight in which Moon-gwang suffers a fatal head injury. Guen-sae is forced back into the bunker while the Kim family leaves and almost gets caught by the Parks, who return home from their camping trip early because of the rain.
Although the Kims manage to escape back home undetected, they arrive to find their basement apartment completely flooded by the heavy rains. They try to salvage what they can, but it's no use and they end up at a local gym where other poor and displaced people are also staying following the storm.
The next day, the Parks throw a birthday party for their son and invite the staff to attend. While everyone is at the Park residence, Kim Ki-woo goes down into the bunker, but is overpowered by Guen-sae, who escapes.
Guen-sae, who hasn't been outside in years, rushes into the party and stabs Kim Ki-jeong in the chest, causing complete chaos. The Park son faints, and while the Kims are dealing with a daughter bleeding to death and a madman trying to stab people, the Parks are yelling at Ki-taek to help their son first.
Kim Ki-taek throws the car keys to the Parks, but while he's busy retrieving them, the Park patriarch, Dong-ik, recoils from the smell of these "lower class" people, something that goes mentioned throughout the movie. This triggers something primal in Ki-taek who, in an almost unconscious fit, stabs Dong-ik before fleeing and seemingly disappearing into thin air.
In the coda of the movie, we learn that Kim Ki-taek didn't, in fact, disappear, as police thought he did. He simply walked back into the house and slipped into the basement bunker.
The film ends with Kim Ki-woo narrating the aftermath, in which he figures out that his father is hiding underneath the Park house.
The voice-over also looks toward a future when he will earn so much money, he will buy the house and set his father free.
The reality, of course, is much bleaker. A new wealthy family moves into the house. Kim Ki-taek remains in the basement. And Kim Ki-woo returns to his basement apartment from which he dreams of reuniting with his father.