Does Parasite Deserve It’s Best Picture Oscar Win?

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Does Parasite Deserve It’s Best Picture Oscar Win?

It’s been six years since Parasite took the cinema world by storm and changed the landscape for Western films in general. The Bong Joon Ho movie became the first foreign film to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. It beat out the likes of Joker, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, and 1917. Parasite is about a low-class family who forms a symbiotic relationship with the wealthy Park family. However, that relationship is threatened when greed and class discrimination challenge the values of both families.

Bong Joon Ho has been a strong filmmaker for decades now. Mother, Memories of Murder, and Snowpiercer are just a short list of tremendous movies in his filmography. It was only a matter of time before the Western culture finally recognized the talents of Bong Joon Ho. However, was Parasite the right film to give him credit for?

The Parks Represent How The Wealthy Needs The Working Class To Survive

Does Parasite Deserve It’s Best Picture Oscar Win?

This sort of topic is nothing new when it comes to film and television. In fact, Joker takes a similar approach that shapes the iconic DC villain. The difference with Parasite is that there are no heroes and villains in this story. Granted, those lines are crossed when Mr. Kim (Song Kang-ho) stabs Mr. Park (Park Dong-ik), but the movies are a striking commentary regarding both classes.

The Park family aren’t bad people. They’re aloof, but generally nice to Kim and his family. However, it’s obvious that they highly depend on the working class to survive. Whether it’s cooking, cleaning, driving, or orchestrating random birthday parties, they use the working class for their basic needs. They’re parasites because they cast their judgments against Kim and his family, and more importantly, they see them as a lower class beings who can be swayed by money.

Even during the climax where the family is attacked by a former servant Geun-se, Mr. Park doesn’t remember him because he never truly valued him in the first place. Him covering his nose because of the “poor man’s smell” even furthers the notion that the working class’s value is nothing beyond the service they provide.

The Kims Showcase The Need For The Wealthy Too

Does Parasite Deserve It’s Best Picture Oscar Win?

Though the parks cast judgment upon the working class, the Kims are arguably worse. They manipulate and deceive their way into the wealthy family and have no issues taking advantage of them. The Kims are not a lazy family. In fact, they have the tools that the Parks wish they could use.

However, they’re subjected to an economy where they desperately need to rely on wealthy families like the Parks. They’re no better than the Parks because they see them as dollar signs. Neither side views the other as human beings, as their jaded worldview has painted an ugly picture in the minds of both families. Money may be the driving force here, but the root of the issue is deeper than that.

The Kims are in a constant state of survival so their actions are rightfully justified in their minds. Bong Joon Ho’s satire is masterfully taking a social jab at both spectrums here. Nobody is perfect. It’s that balance in the subject that allows Parasite to stand out amongst recent films that provide social commentary about this subject.

The Characters Are Crucial For Such A Rich Story

Does Parasite Deserve It’s Best Picture Oscar Win?

Of course, the most important aspect of Parasite is the characters as a whole. Each one of the main characters has a distinct trait that helps provide more context to the overall story. Choi Yeon-gyo (Jo Yeo-jeong) isn’t the brightest tool in the shed. Kim Ki-woo (Choi Woo-sik) takes full advantage of that. His father is a hard-working class man just trying to make ends meet. Whereas Mr. Park is a highly successful, but overworked father just trying to provide a comfortable lifestyle for his family.

The personalities of these characters are greatly explored. Bong Joon Ho does an excellent job of balancing comedy, drama, and even horror elements without any of these moments feeling jarring. It helps that the actors in each role are perfectly cast. By perfectly balancing the nuances of the story and displaying the subtleties that make the context of the story richer, it takes a couple of watches just to truly understand how great Parasite is.

So Does Parasite Deserve It’s Oscar?

Does Parasite Deserve It’s Best Picture Oscar Win?

Definitely. Parasite is a small film; however, the way Bong Joon Ho manages to craft such a compelling narrative is awe-inspiring. It takes a shot at both the working and wealthy class. It also provides an insightful commentary that drives a wedge between the rich and the poor. It’s a great film that certainly deserved its high praise in 2019.

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