Parasite (Gisaengchung)

Critics Consensus

An urgent, brilliantly layered look at timely social themes, Parasite finds writer-director Bong Joon Ho in near-total command of his craft.

99%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 283

93%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 1,580
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Movie Info

Bong Joon Ho brings his work home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairytale. Meet the Park Family: the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist, to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide "indispensable" luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims' newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks.

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Critic Reviews for Parasite (Gisaengchung)

All Critics (283) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (280) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Parasite (Gisaengchung)

  • 3d ago
    Watching this movie without knowing anything, not reading the synopsis, no watching the trailer, no expectation at all besides all the good and positive review from a bunch of people. Nor that I know before that Parasite took home Palme d' Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival. And... damn just damn!! This movie turns out to be a really good movie!! So good that after the twist in the middle of the movie, I can't even blink my eyes even just for a second. Even the ending makes me to hold my breath for quite time. Now I know why Parasite took home that most prestigious award. To describe Parasite is like when you bought a K*nd*rj*y, you like the toy when you open it (to describe the twist in the middle), and surprisingly found liquor after you bite the chocolate (like the best dessert you ever tasted). And yes, it is just that damn good! Bong Joon Ho succesfully gave a light story and more comedy at the beginning, getting a little serious with a genre change in the middle, and gave us the perfect twist with that ending. There's nothing more that I will spill about this movie, just go and see it for yourself since this movie will definitely blow your mind. And if you like Japanese movie The Shoplifters who also took out Palme d' Or last year and being nominated as Best Foreign Film at the Oscars and Golden Globes last year (if it's not because of Rome, Shoplifters would bag those awards for sure), you definitely would love this movie too.
    Sanjaya & Super Reviewer
  • Nov 03, 2019
    SEOUL SURVIVORS - My Review of PARASITE (4 1/2 Stars) It would be understandable to watch the first ten minutes of Parasite, the new film from Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host) and think you've stumbled into an alternate universe version of Shoplifters. Both feature an Asian family of grifters living in a hovel and preying on people with money. Both won the prestigious Cannes Film Festival's top prize a year apart. While both excellent films, Parasite is to Shoplifters what No Strings Attached was to Friends With Benefits. I won't chase comparisons any further than that, because Parasite is a staggering work of art worth putting on its very own pedestal. Bong Joon Ho has delighted in subverting our expectations within specific genres, whether it's a monster movie, a chase film, or an environmental issues farce. His films have often explored the marked differences between the haves and the have nots. With Parasite, he and co-writer Han Jin Won bring this social dichotomy to the world of the home invasion thriller, creating a masterful, screw-tightening, devastatingly powerful gut punch of a movie. I'll set up the basic premise but spoil nothing in this review, as the surprises merit fresh eyes. The Kim family live in a damp basement apartment which affords them a view of drunken men urinating right outside their street level window. They subsist on odd jobs like folding pizza boxes and dream of better lives which they can see on their iPhones whenever they're able to piggyback onto their neighbor's WiFi. This foursome, played by Kang-ho Song, a Bong Joon Ho regular, as the father Ki-taek, Hye-jin Jang as the mother Chung-sook, Woo-Sir Choi as the young son Ki-woo and So-dam Park as the daughter, deserve a break. Good fortune strikes them one day when Ki-woo's friend tells informs him he's traveling overseas and needs him to cover for him as an English tutor for the daughter the wealthy Park family of four. Ki-woo impresses the parents, who live in a sleek modern mansion in a well-to-do section of Seoul. The father, Dong-ik (Sun-kyun Lee) owns a tech company and has the shuffling gait of a man used to his creature comforts. The mother, Yeon-kyo (Yeo-jeong Jo) oozes compassion and beauty despite not always being aware of her surroundings. They raise their young children in a bubble which gets burst wide open with the arrival of Ki-woo. Soon, enough, the rest of the Kim family insidiously infiltrates the Parks' lives, and my story description ends here. Needless to say, Parasite draws you in with its basic premise and then, like the best of Hitchcock and Kubrick, turns it on its ear and makes you gasp. The majority of the film delights in revealing every little shift which occurs in that gorgeously stark home until you slowly realize that everything has changed. In an instant, however, things go bonkers (you'll know it when you see it), but it doesn't so much feel like a tonal shift as it feels like an organic extension of our poor family's desperation. The film doesn't feature a human antagonist. The Kim's do what they need to do to survive in a tough world, and the Parks are mostly kind to their employees, although they do separate themselves a bit by noticing that poor people have certain smells. It's enough of a detail to evoke a ton of empathy for the Kims. Make no mistake. This is a movie-movie. It has grand set pieces and almost unbearable suspense. I've never before witnessed the preparing of a ramen type dish in the context of a nail-biting moment, but there it is for Bong Joon Ho to mess with his audience for several agonizing minutes. Same goes for a sliding shelf door, a living room table, a light switch, a flooding apartment, and an innocent enough outdoor party. What the filmmaker seems to be saying is that what separates the classes is merely a thin veneer. We're all one tiny moment away from losing everything. It doesn't hurt that the assembled cast shines. I especially loved the interplay between Kang-ho and Hye-jin as the parents. Their increasingly dire circumstances bring them closer together with each showing the other tenderness despite the mayhem. I also loved Yeon-kyo's guileless performance as the too-easily impressed mom. Had she done a little Googling, she may have prevented what ensues, but she seems to love people, so it's hard to hate her. For a moment near the end, the air leaks out of the tires with a sequence slightly out of step with what precedes it. I should have known better to question it, as Bong Joon Ho is a master filmmaker. Of course it would swing around again to produce an unforgettably heartbreaking final moment. It's up there with the great movie endings. Bong Joon Ho uses everything in his powers to achieve this instant classic. His cinematographer, Kyung-pyo Hong, understands how to present space in a frame and how to mine suspense out of every slight camera move. Ha-jun Lee's production design presents a vivid contrast between the two main homes. Jail Jung's orchestral score gives the film an appropriate heft, worthy of such big flights of musical fancy. Parasite is a movie of its time as each of us circle around the ever-diminishing musical chairs. We don't know when the music will stop, but when it does, some of us are in for a world of hurt. At least we may still find beauty in it if great filmmakers like Bong Joon Ho have a seat at the table.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer
  • Oct 28, 2019
    Director Bong Joon Ho has been on my radar for years now, as I believe him to be one of the best storytellers out there right now. Admittedly, I haven't seen the majority of his films but his two most recent works in Snowpiecer and Okja were among the best films of their consecutive years. I thought both of those films were great, so I was very eagerly awaiting his newest film, Parasite. After viewing, not only does this film deserve to be talked about as one of the best films to be released in 2019, but I personally think this may just be the very best movie you'll see all year. Now, some people may not like the turn it takes, but here's why I think Parasite demands to be seen. To go into detail about this premise would be to ruin it for those who haven't seen it, so I'll stick to the basics here. The Kim family lives in a basement living space. All unemployed, they find any way they can to make things work. Ki-woo, the eldest sibling in the family, is given the opportunity to tutor the daughter of the rich Park family. Getting smarter and smarter as the first act really kicks into gear, the Kim family becomes a group of very clever con-artists. Meaning well and doing everything they can to keep things legitimate, this makes for some terrific tension. The biggest praise I can give this film is that it's constantly in motion, never wasting a moment to surprise you. The set-up for this movie has many clever aspects to it, the second act throws you a real curveball and the finale doesn't disappoint either. Some viewers may think this movie goes off the rails toward the end, but I found it to be an overall brilliant piece of storytelling. Each time you think the movie has said everything it wants to, it becomes that much more interesting. In other hands, this story could've have come off as a very generic film, but there's truly something special about how well-made Parasite is. Wonderfully shot by cinematographer Kyung-pyo Hong, each frame of this movie has more than one thing to say. It's very rare these days that shot compositions are done in such a way that they seem to tell a story as well, but even in the moments when the focus is on the characters alone, there are things happening in the background or even signs in the framing that things are coming soon. This movie is brilliantly made in every way. It's very rare when I review a film and struggle to at least come up with one negative here, so I won't bother trying, because I loved this movie too much to let anything take away from it. I will just say that certain aspects may not work for everyone. Parasite is a perfect example of why I love movies so much. A great, engaging story that surprises you from start to finish, along with one of the best crews to work on a film yet this year. I can't praise this film enough. This Korean language film has broken through and I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if it takes home the award for best foreign film and even a nomination for best picture. This is as close to a masterpiece you can get today.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Oct 20, 2019
    Demands to be seen with as little advanced knowledge as possible because this will allow you fully appreciate how gradually Bong Joon Ho moves the plot from farce to something else.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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