Show + Tell: Parasite

It feels like I’ve been waiting for a year for Parasite to arrive, which isn’t ideal. In a perfect world, I would be sitting in the library of my elegant mansion and a friend would come by and say, “I say, old man, there’s a Korean movie that you ought to see. Shall we go?” And I would wind up sitting in the theater with no idea what the movie was or what it was about.


Instead, I’m going to see a movie that arrives with trumpets blaring, a Palme d’Or from Cannes, Oscar nominations for both Best Picture and Foreign Film (and four others), and an avalanche of publicity.

(No problem. I can deal with it. But I’m holding on to my fantasy of someday seeing a movie of this caliber with no expectations and no preconceptions.)

For those of you who have been in a media cocoon of silence (impeachment related, perhaps?), Parasite is the story of a very poor Korean family that gradually works its way into the household of a very rich Korean family. That’s all I’ll tell you.

Well, I guess I’ll also say that it’s written and directed by Bong Joon-Ho, the clever genius behind Snowpiercer and The Host. The movie has plenty of laughs, although it’s not a comedy, but it’s hard to say exactly what its genre is. Clearly there’s a deep vein of social satire, but there are also strains of thriller, ghost story, and horror running through.

But the major impression I’ve taken away from all the reading I’ve done is that Parasite is just plain good. By all accounts, we won’t leave the theater as the same people we were when we walked in. And that kind of unsettling experience is a major reason to go to the movies.

And then, of course, there’s the discussion that follows, while our collective blood pressure returns to normal.

I look forward to seeing you tonight at The Music Hall Loft at 7:00pm, and afterward for a great talk about a movie that many critics are saying is the best of the year.

Paul Goodwin