Parasite: The Movie for 2020

Alejandro Munoz, Reporter

The 2020 Oscars, which started off as a relatively normal award ceremony to an absolutely unprecedented year, was not completely normal.


 This was the first Oscar which awarded the Best Picture Award to a non-English film. And it was rightfully given. Parasite, the story of the Kims, a poor South-Korean family sneakily working their way into the house of the wealthy Parks, was well executed by Bong Joon-Ho and demonstrated the themes of class warfare and socio-economic struggle that are so familiar in our society. But now more than ever, I think that this year specifically was the right year for a movie like Parasite to win. 


Recent events have made more obvious the differences in struggles that people in different parts of society face. The wealthy upper class find it much easier to deal with a economic shutdown, where a large portion of the working force have to give up their jobs because of the measures that have been put into place in order stop the spread of the disease, leaving those underneath the upper class struggling to deal with the consequences of an economy besieged by a pandemic. Millions have lost what they were so used to, and have been forced into a new life that is unfamiliar to them, and it is this struggle that has demonstrated the frustrations that everyday working people have with the wealthy that they see as lazy. 


Parasite portrays this struggle, and does it well, by giving us a story about a family so sick of watching those of better fortune prosper, that they decide to lie their way into their house, even pushing people in the same needy place that they are in out of the way, in order to make their way up and take from the wealthy, becoming a parasite on the side of the Park family.


Another prominent theme in the movie is the presentation of wealth inequality. While the Parks house is pristine and lavish, with pieces of expensive, contemporary artwork laced around the house and glass windows surrounding the perimeter of the house, the Kim Family house is a shabby basement apartment, not suitable for a family of four. And while all four members of the Kims work jobs in order to keep their lives afloat, the Park household is held up solely by the breadwinning Mr Park, creating even more strain and anger in the Kim family towards people like them.


I wanted to ask some of my closest friends what they thought of the themes portrayed in Parasite and I saw similarities and differences in their answers to my own. Jorge Montecinos, a UHS senior, told me, ¨I feel that the main takeaway I had from the movie was how people living close to one another can be living in completely different worlds.¨ Morgan Cleary, also a senior at Urbana, described the movie as, ¨A really exaggerated example of the differences between the wealthy and the poor.¨ My brother Guillermo Munoz, a UHS 9th grader, made me aware that,¨although the main theme of the movie is class division, it also shows the importance of family around the world and how much a person is willing to do in order to make a better life for their loved ones.¨


The movie is an accurate representation of the lives of so many, this year and for so many years in the past. Although these ideas that have been presented to us by Bong Joon Ho are especially tangible now, people have been seeing these patterns of money disparity and class warfare for so many years. I’m sure that in your life, you have seen these themes appear. So many people are familiar with these problems and I think it is movies like Parasite that will hold a mirror up to our society and tell us to be better than this and work harder to make sure that families do not have to become parasites to others so they can survive.