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Movie Monday: Parasite

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Book By Book

As usual, we were searching for a movie Saturday night, something with great ratings that is free on one of the streaming services we get. I noticed that Parasite is now free on Hulu, so I talked my husband into trying it. Neither of us probably would have chosen this Korean movie with subtitles out of the blue, but I knew it had won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2019 (along with a slew of other Oscars that year). We went into it thinking that it was some sort of thriller, maybe about some kind of pathogen or infestation? We were so wrong. This movie kept surprising us (in a good way) and turning into something we never expected. 

Ki Woo is an older teenaged boy, played by Woo-sik Choi, who is at loose ends. He dreams of going to college, but right now, he’s stuck in a basement apartment with the rest of his family. His dad, played by Kang-ho Song, is unemployed, though a medal hanging on the wall in a frame indicates he once had a bright future ahead. He seems depressed in the opening scenes. Ki Woo’s older sister, Ki Jung (played by So-dam Park), is similarly unemployed, with no future, though she has some artistic talent. And their mother is also unemployed, though she tries to stir her family to earn some money by folding pizza boxes for a local restaurant. One day, Ki Woo is talking with a friend who’s in college. He explains that he has an awesome job tutoring a wealthy high school girl in English, and he asks if Ki Woo wants to take over the job while he travels overseas. Though Ki Woo can’t afford school right now, he did very well on his exams, including English, so his friend recommends him to the wealthy family. Ki Woo is in awe when he walks up to their huge, modern home, quite a contrast to his own family’s basement apartment. They have an enormous fenced-in yard, windows everywhere, and the latest conveniences. He begins tutoring their daughter, Da Hye, and earning more money than he ever has before. When the mother mentions she is looking for an art teacher for her rambunctious younger son, Ki Woo recommends his sister, hiding her identity by saying she is the cousin of a friend at school. And then … well, you’ll never guess what’s coming!

That was just the basic set-up from the earliest scenes of the movie because the fun and cleverness of this film come from the twisty surprises around every corner! It’s difficult to categorize Parasite, either, because it has so many different moods and pieces. It’s very funny, especially in the first half. Later, things turn quite dark, with plenty of tension and suspense, turning into a thriller. And it is also very sad at times. We don’t watch many movies with subtitles, but we got used to them–we just discovered we had to finish dinner first and pay attention! We quickly got into the spirit of the movie and went along with its flow. And what a flow it is! We thoroughly enjoyed this ever-surprising movie and recommended it to our son and his girlfriend last night.

Parasite is currently available for free on Hulu or for a small fee on YouTube, Google Play, Apple TV, and VuDu.


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