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: 363

93%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 4,097
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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 (363) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (359) | Rotten (4)

  • If the movie is a Rorschach of who you identify as parasite and host, it's a test you're just as likely to fail; a filmgoing experience that refuses to fit into any box, and forces viewers to breathe the dangerous air outside of it too.

    Dec 11, 2019 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • Let's just say that by "Parasite's" conclusion, what started out as a comedy of manners has become a furious snarl of rage and his most arresting social satire yet.

    Dec 11, 2019 | Full Review…

    Bob Mondello

    NPR
    Top Critic
  • It isn't an easy ride, and as with life in the non-metaphorical world, the destination is uncertain. You'll see strange and wonderful things along the way.

    Dec 11, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It's a fitting movie for our times, and Joon-ho delivers with uncompromising clarity and vision. See it before the inevitable American remake sands down all its razor sharp edges.

    Nov 3, 2019 | Rating: A | Full Review…
  • Just as many of the director's previous efforts have defied pigeonholing, Parasite delights in ping-ponging from one genre to another, defying expectations along the way.

    Nov 3, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's a nearly perfect film, from Bong's masterful use of framing and visual language and control of a wildly shifting tone to the performances (all terrific) to the commentary on class division.

    Oct 24, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Parasite (Gisaengchung)

  • 2d ago
    It is always exciting to see what the Frenchies decided was film of the year as it never fails to be a better pic than whatever the Hollywood menagerie showers with a critical accolades come Springtime. Little did I expect Cannes Film Festival to award the prestigious Palme D'or this year to a director who has been one of my least favorite filmmakers...until now. Bong Joon-ho's English film debut, 2013's SNOWPIERCER, struck me as overrated and dumb while 2017's OKJA was cartoonish and ham-fisted. It didn't help that he'd relegated two of my favorite actors, Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, to cringe-inducing career-low sideshow performers. Besides that, I just couldn't vibe with his grotesque and bumbling concoction of family-friendly cuteness, ultra violence, and quirky humor. It reeked of trying too hard and failed to land with me at every turn. With that said, let me be the first and most surprised person to say with no reservations PARASITE is easily one of the best movies I've seen this year. However, there's the other genetically engineered super pig in the room: PARASITE has an awful lot in common with last year's Palme D'or winner SHOPLIFTERS. Putting aside that the former is a Korean production and the latter was Japanese, both films follow the lives of a poor family as they struggle on the fringes of society, running cons and scams to get by in a callous world. They are held together by their honest love for one another, and their example is set juxtaposed to the neglectfulness of a consumerist society that allows so many to fall through the cracks in the first place. But the main way that Joon-ho one-up's his award-winning predecessor is with an incisive sense of humor suffused in each character, a humor that is immediately, physically translatable despite the language barrier. It works here so well precisely because it's reigned in and understated throughout the film, making the more manic parts hit harder - such as when Park So-Dam apathetically lights a cigarette on a lidded toilet spewing flooded sewage out the sides. The class conscious themes that have pervaded Joon-ho's science fiction offerings up to this point are given a much greater sense of immediacy and relatability as we watch this struggling family elbow their way into the good graces of a rich, privileged, and naive family. Beside the obvious "haves vs. have-nots" one would expect from this scenario, there's clearly an exploration of the structures that relegate people into servitude and poverty for generations, not just by the wealthy elite but by the pervasive mechanisms of misfortune that are maintained by the working class as we claw at each other's throats for short-term gain. Believe the hype, PARASITE is well deserving of the praise it has received thus far. It's tense, hilarious, and poignant, and I'm forced to genuinely re-evaluate this director's output knowing that he knocked it out of the park this time.
    Steve L Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2019
    The most original film of 2019 and it is wickedly funny and darkly disturbing all at the same time. The narrative and the actors were excellent. One of the better endings of a movie in quite a while. Class warfare at its best. (12-21-19).
    John C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2019
    Bong Joon-ho crafts an intricate look at modern-day social hierarchies with Parasite. Keeping the audience flipped on one mood then drastically changing to the other while delivering some brilliant thematic elements, this film is clever, humorous, dramatic and every other kind of emotions that's an outstanding way to close the year and decade in films. 4.53/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2019
    This movie is good from beginning to end, despite how out of hand it gets. The ridiculousness gets amped up with every act, but the humor and intrigue remain constant. The screenplay is very good, and the acting jobs are great, particularly by Song Kang Ho. A very enjoyable film from the first moment until the last.
    Sanjay R Super Reviewer

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