Synopsis: Selected by "Conscious Movie Reviews," "Parasite" is an action and adventure drama from South Korea. Living in a half basement apartment that's cramped, the Kim family struggled to survive financially. When the son, Ki-Woo, got a visit from Min-hyuk, a friend at school, he provided an opportunity to become a private English tutor for the wealthy Park family. Ki-Woo also received a Scholar's Rock from him as a gift that's believed to bring great wealth. By relying on his sister's skills in forgery to look like a legitimate candidate for the job, he got the interview with Mrs. Park to land the job. His win made it easier for the rest of his family to con their way into getting on the Park's payroll by first conspiring to replace the chauffeur and housekeeper. They succeeded by getting them wrongfully fired. Their good fortune changed when the Park family was away on a camping trip for the Kims to take over their house and party. The former housekeeper showed up unexpectedly with a reveal in a secret bunker that threatened the Kim family's livelihood. This review is not about pointing out the class struggles within the film, but to show in a symbolic way, the progression of a fatal parasitic infection that affects the body, mind and spirit.
Warning: Spoilers within the Presentation
Welcome to "Conscious Movie Reviews." I'm your host Joy Davis and here to review "Parasite" that is an action and adventure drama from South Korea. Instead of pointing out the class struggles within this film, I will discuss how the story relates, in a symbolic way, to the progression of an invasive disease that affects the body, mind and spirit.
Within their semi-basement apartment, the entire Kim family folded pizza boxes for money. A fumigator showed up without notice to exterminate the stink bugs within their slum neighborhood. They had to tolerate the toxic fumes that entered the open window.
Their fortunes changed when the son, Ki-Woo, received a visit by his friend, Min-hyuk, from school. He is going to study abroad and recommended that Ki-woo take his place as a private English tutor for the wealthy Park family. Before leaving, Min-hyuk gifted him with a Scholar's Rock that's believed to bring great wealth for its owner.
The fumigation of the Kims symbolized that they're hardy parasites living under toxic conditions.
Based on the divine "Law of Attraction," we can draw lessons to us, based on what we love, hate and fear most that are the strong feelings creating the magnetic pull. For the Kim family, they attracted a great opportunity to earn easy money out of a love for an unsuspecting host to feed off of. The rock reflected their hardened feelings of shame and frustration about their sorry lot in life.
Skilled in forgery, Ki-Woo's sister, Ki-jung, helped her brother look official on paper with the right credentials that landed him an interview with Mrs. Park. He met her teenage daughter and restless son, Da-song, whom she regarded as a gifted artist, but "delicate," out of fear that he may have another trauma-induced seizure.
Ki-woo was hired immedately. Given the nickname of Kevin by Mrs. Park, he joined the household staff that included a chauffeur and long-time housekeeper, Moon-gwang.
Kevin's sister applied for the Art Therapist position that the Parks needed to fill. Going by the made-up name of Jessica, she faked her way through the interview, giving the impression that she's able to heal Da-song. Mrs. Park was easily convinced.
When the chauffer and housekeeper were wrongfully let go, based on circumstantial evidence that was planted by Kevin and Jessica, their parents pretended to be worthy replacements. They were both hired, placing the entire Kim family on the Parks' payroll.
Wary that an in-house worker may "cross the line" to behave unprofessionally, Mr. Park attracted the very thing he was afraid might happen. It was his fear made manifest. As a test of character, your fears can be seen as either a challenge to defeat or an opportunity to resolve peacefully within.
For every disease, there are core beliefs and underlying emotions that can contribute to it. By looking at the family dynamics, Mr. Park's boundaries about "crossing the line" can represent a body's first line of defense that is the immune system, which was weak. Whenever you dwell too much on your fears and stressful emotions, like Mr. Park did around being manipulated, it can lower immunity, making cells permeable to invasive micro-organisms. He compounded the problem as an enabler of his wife's worries about their traumatized son. Mrs. Park was not only ditzy, but would overreact and get anxious easily. She resembles a delicate nervous system that's "on edge" that can weaken the family's defenses even more to become immune-compromised. Under these conditions, parasites can invade and drain your energies, like the Kim family did.
Within the film, the Parks lived in a palatial, multi-level house. The spaciousness of it suggested that the family had a fear of intimacy from not trusting others easily. They even kept their physical distance, residing high above the city's slums.
On a subconscious level, a home can reflect the state of your body's health. The stairway represents a spine that leads up to the brain's two halves that are the children's rooms. There's the left brain that rules analytical thinking, where Kevin teaches English to the Parks' daughter in her bedroom. And Da-song's space relates to right brain thinking that fosters creativity - where his art therapy sessions are held.
A park-like backyard can be seen in grand view from the living room. Surrounded by lush greenery, it relates to the green color of the heart chakra that influences the body's heart and circulatory system. It would later be the site of a heart-stopping incident.
While the Parks were away on a camping trip to celebrate Da-song's birthday, the Kims took over the family's house to party.
Moon-gwang, the former housekeeper, showed up unexpectedly to get something that was left behind in the basement. She went down some stairs to a secret bunker where her husband, Geun-sae, lived for the last four years to evade loan sharks. Mrs. Kim was shocked. They wanted her help to stay there, but she refused, so Moon-gwang threatened to expose the Kims as con artists.
Violence erupted between them. When Moon-gwang tried to escape from the bunker, Mrs. Kim kicked her back down the stairs, rendering her dead from a concussion.
This is a case of bottom-feeder parasites with seniority trying to feed off the efforts of parasitic newcomers within a host. The Kims wouldn't allow it.
Moon-gwang, another parasite, went through the kitchen's secret passageway and down the stairs to where her husband lived. She descended, in a metaphorical way, into the subconscious mind that holds secrets and hidden motives.
As a benign parasite that's mentally off from too much isolation, Geun-sae did not interfere with the Parks' daily affairs. He was careful not to get caught, except for when Da-song discovered him at night in the kitchen. Mistaking him for a scary ghost, he went into a seizure.
The kitchen, that symbolizes the stomach for digestion, was the scene of the trauma that Da-song could not stomach. His traumatic response showed how parasites can infect the brain and central nervous system to induce a seizure.
Pouring rain spoiled the Parks' camping trip, so they returned home. Da-song's birthday celebration was moved to the next day. They would invite guests, including the hired help, to their Native American-themed party.
Da-song's obsession with Indian culture symbolized a return to the body's indigenous ways for self-protection, balance with nature, and inner strength. His tribe must come together for a war party with tomahawks to drive away these foreign invaders that the parasites represented.
The Kims, hiding under the couch, narrowly escaped a run-in with the Parks. They rushed back to their flooded apartment as the storm continued. Wading through a mix of rain and sewer water that kept rising, the place was a health hazard.
This scene illustrates how parasites are normally found in contaminanted sewage. By infecting a host, they can re-create the same filthy conditions to thrive in a pool of stagnant lymph and toxic blood.
Geun-sae "snapped" from seeing that his wife was killed, so when Kevin showed up in the bunker with the Scholar's Rock, that was saved in the flood, he smashed Kevin's head with it.
Hell-bent on getting revenge, Geun-sae headed for the lawn party with a kitchen knife to stab Jessica in the heart. Mrs. Kim did the same to him with a meat skewer.
Da-song went into overwhelm and fainted from the drama. Mr. Park insisted that Mr. Kim drive his boy to the hospital instead of tending to Jessica so she can live. He turned Geun-sae's body over to grab for his car keys, but was disgusted by the smell. His reaction triggered Mr. Kim to stab him. He couldn't stand working for such an insensitive jerk, especially towards Jessica dying.
Under great stress, what was once benign turned deadly. The grisly scene resembled a parasitic infection that ravages a person's body. Known as sepsis, it's when parasites release their poisons into the bloodstream to cause organ failure that the stabbings to the heart represented.
And as parasites die, they give off noxious fumes that could cause you to feel horrible, accounting for the bad smell from Geun-sae.
Mr. Kim went into hiding to avoid the police. He was wanted for murder.
After recovering from brain surgery, Ki-woo received morse code messages by light from the house. It was his father letting the family know that he's taken refuge in the bunker.
Mr. Kim was worst off, but even more than ever before. It's really from a culmination of all his thoughts and feelings that kept him stuck. Many of our problems are self-created like this. He was comfortable expecting failure from an underlying belief that the best plans are no plans at all. He'll just passively wait for new hosts to come along as parasites normally do.
In a letter for his father, Ki-woo wrote that he'd one day earn enough to buy the home and free him. It was just a fantasy.