“Parasite”. A tale of two families from opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. It is an upstairs-downstairs film that explores every available rung on the ladder of class aspirationalism.
Parasite- an organism that lives in or on an organism of another species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense. In this movie, Geun-sae is a parasite living on the food provided by his wife, who works for the rich Park family, but the sudden turn of events compels Ki-taek to become a “parasite” in the end.
The movie has portrayed that those on the upper rungs of the societal ladder are as practiced as those upon whom they look down. The Kim family’s life turns upside down after Ki-woo’s friend gives him an opportunity to home tutor a rich schoolgirl. He also gifts him a scholar’s rock meant to promise wealth. Parks’ obliviousness and Kims’ cunningness does help the Kim family to infiltrate the Park house as individual workers, but what happens later reveals the dark reality.
“Ki-woo, do you know what kind of plan never fails? No plan at all. If you make a plan, life will never work out that way.” This is what Ki-taek tells his son Ki-woo when he is looking for solutions to solve all their problems. In this moment one can see the helplessness of a destitute family in the eyes of Ki-taek, who is hopeless that he’ll ever be able to break his family out of such a debilitating lifestyle.
Ki-jung and Ki-woo’s lives symbolize the struggle of hard working and talented people who aren’t able to achieve their goals due to the poor economic conditions of their families. The scholar’s rock holds a great significance in the movie. Ki-woo keeps it till the end hoping that it would bring great fortune to his family but it eventually attracts a terrible toll.
In the age of extreme wealth disparity, the Kims’ striving and scheming is thoroughly relatable. A series of events clarify what they should have known all along: that their lives are still constrained by servitude, and that they work merely at the whims of their employer. So, Ki-taek stabs the wealthy Park patriarch and runs away. This is when Karma plays its role and the Kims pay for their apathy towards Mun-Kwang, who was the original housekeeper. From selfish and self-obsessed nature of the Park family to the parasitical nature of the Kim family, the director has managed to show case the fake society we live in.
In the end, the movie manages to convey that there would always be another wealthy person to live upstairs, just as there would be another poor person positioned beneath them. Ki-woo’s desire to continue striving is Sisyphean and is the boulder that will eventually crush him. Hope is the emotional parasite in the film: the thing that keeps us going but sucks our marrow dry.