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Parasite (2019)

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1 hour ago, Cranberry said:

Cool! I read a reddit thread on references that South Korean audiences would catch that mentioned Fried Chicken and bakeries, but this goes into great detail about the socio-economic background that a South Korean audiences would know innately. It'd be like mentioning that someone was involved in subprime mortgages in 2008 here.

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1 hour ago, Cranberry said:

Definitely fills in a lot of blanks. The part about what specific businesses caused the collapse is specifically Korean, so it may not make much sense to other viewers. 

But I think most everyone can understand and relate into getting into the "hottest" business out there, and then losing all your money in a flash.

Edited by slowpoked
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On 2/25/2020 at 2:18 AM, Simon Boccanegra said:

This is one reason I was impressed with the actress (Cho Yeo-jeong). That kind of character can just be a nothing, but she made something memorable of it.  

I went into this film knowing Cho Yeo-Jeong was going to be in it. When I saw who she was and what she did with the role, I was delighted. Cho has been in a couple of explicit South Korean films and has a reputation for taking risks. She was the title character in The Concubine which was the opposite kind of role than on Parasite. Her character had intelligence and softness in the former while she plays the dumb, gullible mark with impeccable comic timing here. What an incredible range. One of the things I hope to come out of the success of this movie is that people watch more SK films. While I don't often like the stories or plots, there is some incredible actors in that industry. 

The smell is an interesting aspect to this film. People from different socio-economic means do smell differently due to products, frequency of hygiene, etc. The film makes the point that the Kims don't necessarily smell bad. The Park son is the first to notice that all the Kims smell the same but he doesn't seem to dislike it. In fact, he seems to have a crush on Kim Ki-Jung/"Jessica" and is often on her lap in the film. Same with his sister's genuine love for "Kevin". The smell is not an actual issue and part of Mr Park's snobbery. Mrs Park doesn't notice the smell until her husband mentions it. She notices it in the car after their convo and probably because Mr Kim had spent a horrific night in his sewer flooded flat and in cramped a gym with lots of other people. I am sure all the Kims showered or found facilities before going to work, but it's hard to get rid of the smell right away. Mr Kim was more stressed out and sweatier so he wasn't in a good state. 

There are some context clues about the Kim's poverty and struggles that Westerners wouldn't get it at first. It is extremely hard to get into college in East Asia. Both the Kim kids could probably get into college in the West, but the Korean college entrance exam is extremely competitive. The family is also deep in debt like many poor Koreans. Getting into college would have put the Kim kids on a better trajectory but even then, there is a widening income gap in South Korea. They Kims may one day get out of the semi-basement, but they would never have earned enough to afford that house which is why the ending is tragic. 

 

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I thought it was interesting that Mr. Park was the only one who was enough of an asshat to mention the smell. Mrs. Park and the Park kids didnt. I liked that -- it showed that Mr Park is just generally a dick.

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35 minutes ago, Growsonwalls said:

I thought it was interesting that Mr. Park was the only one who was enough of an asshat to mention the smell. Mrs. Park and the Park kids didnt. I liked that -- it showed that Mr Park is just generally a dick.

The way I see it is that Mr. Park did not say that Mr. Kim smelled bad at all. When Mrs. Park asked what kind of smell was it, if it was like an old rag being boiled or old man's smell, Mr. Park said it's not those specifically, it's the smell of people in subways. Which to me isn't saying about Mr. Kim personally smelling bad, but that his smell belongs to a certain class of people.

@Athena is right that the young Park son was actually the first one who noticed the smell, but the son also never said anything or implied that it was a bad smell. I find it's interesting that some in the audience may think that when referencing and/or talking about a person's smell, that it automatically means a person smells bad. 

I agree that while Mrs. Park only recognized the smell after her husband mentioned it to her, it also probably didn't help that at that particular time in the car, Mr. Kim might have actually smelled bad, considering he weathered a storm the prior night, slept in a gym and put on clothes that came from a pile of donations. I would wager he probably didn't get a good shower in the gym as well, just washed enough to look clean. 

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The thing with "the smell" was that the comment was obviously offensive to Mr. Kim.  Mr. Park twitches his nose in the car and Mr. Kim notices.   I think there are couple of other instances and not just the end of the movie.  The Parks can discuss it among themselves but the Kims were aware of it; this is rude on behalf of the Parks.  I think this speaks to a smaller theme of the movie - carelessness.  Emotional laziness.  

I assume Mr. Park works hard, Mrs. Park is busy at whatever and the kids appear to be doing their work.  The Kim family lies but they are doing the work.  However the lack of honesty is indicative of someone taking the easy way out.  Mr. Park fires the driver but doesn't tell him the real reason.  If he had, the driver could have defended himself.  Same with Mrs. Park, she says she will "make something up" to fire the housekeeper and will lie to her husband about it.  They don't want to have a difficult confrontation.  

The Parks assume the Kims will want to come in on their day off because they're paying them extra.  Of course the Kims need the money but they're not happy to work that day.  It seems like a small thing but it means that Mr. Kim is already in a bad mood when everything goes down.  Like ripples in a pond, expanding out to disaster.

The Kims, though they do the work and are quick on their feet, also take the easier way out.  Why does Ki-woo not present Ki-jung as his sister?  Why that  lie?  I wondered about that; maybe there is something cultural I missed.    Chung-sook's immediate reaction is to turn the housekeeper in, even though the woman is begging her not to.  Then she casually knocks the housekeeper back down the stairs, which causes the woman's concussion and eventual death.  These are just people whose lack of care about those not in their immediate circle ruined three families.

I thought the movie was excellent.  It went in directions I didn't expect and I thought about it for a long time afterwards.  I will probably watch it again to catch things I missed. 

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18 hours ago, slowpoked said:

The way I see it is that Mr. Park did not say that Mr. Kim smelled bad at all. When Mrs. Park asked what kind of smell was it, if it was like an old rag being boiled or old man's smell, Mr. Park said it's not those specifically, it's the smell of people in subways. Which to me isn't saying about Mr. Kim personally smelling bad, but that his smell belongs to a certain class of people.

Smell is personal and to be fair to Mr Park (ugh), the Kims living arrangements mean they probably do have distinct smell which could be mildly unpleasant to some. They live half underground in a place that is likely moldy, poorly circulated, and like many South Koreans, they do not have a dryer. Either way Mr Park does find it unpleasant at least from a social point of view which is rude and dickish.

 

14 hours ago, raven said:

I assume Mr. Park works hard, Mrs. Park is busy at whatever and the kids appear to be doing their work.  The Kim family lies but they are doing the work.  However the lack of honesty is indicative of someone taking the easy way out.  Mr. Park fires the driver but doesn't tell him the real reason.  If he had, the driver could have defended himself.  Same with Mrs. Park, she says she will "make something up" to fire the housekeeper and will lie to her husband about it.  They don't want to have a difficult confrontation.  

The Parks assume the Kims will want to come in on their day off because they're paying them extra.  Of course the Kims need the money but they're not happy to work that day.  It seems like a small thing but it means that Mr. Kim is already in a bad mood when everything goes down.  Like ripples in a pond, expanding out to disaster.

The Kims, though they do the work and are quick on their feet, also take the easier way out.  Why does Ki-woo not present Ki-jung as his sister?  Why that  lie?  I wondered about that; maybe there is something cultural I missed.    Chung-sook's immediate reaction is to turn the housekeeper in, even though the woman is begging her not to.  Then she casually knocks the housekeeper back down the stairs, which causes the woman's concussion and eventual death.  These are just people whose lack of care about those not in their immediate circle ruined three families.

I thought the movie was excellent.  It went in directions I didn't expect and I thought about it for a long time afterwards.  I will probably watch it again to catch things I missed. 

What I liked about the con was that the Kims were for the most part genuinely good at the jobs once they got it. Mr Kim seems to be a good driver (as seen from the mug cornering test) and Mrs Kim has no issues with cooking (she makes the ram-don very quickly). Mr Kim only messes up driving when trying to "connect" with Mr Park. Kevin was busy macking on his charge but there did seem to be some tutoring. Min did say he was good at English. He was never really hired to help the daughter academically; Mrs Park said as much. Jessica had the most BS job, but whatever she did, Da Song took to her quickly and was more respectful and less wild around the house. The whole thing said to me that all the Kims could be hard working and skilled, but they had up ended in hard times where they couldn't elevate their situation through conventional means. This is a sad reality for a lot of poor people in debt. It does not excuse the conning or what they do after, but it gives context on how difficult it was for them to actually get a chance to work a skilled job.

As to why the lie about Jessica not being related, this is all about connections. Networking and connections are a big deal in East Asian cultures. That's human nature and prevalent in the West as well, but the idea of Meritocracy and American Dream glosses over it (which the film skewers too). In some ways, Asian cultures are more overt and honest that it's really about who you know rather than what you know that can get you positioned upwards. It's part of the grim reality which is why the film's set up with Min is important for the rest of the movie. 

Ki-Woo takes the opportunity to create a new connection that Mrs Park relishes. She even says later how she likes the "network of referrals". Ki-Woo makes Jessica more accomplished and socially valuable than Kevin: she is American educated and has family in the US. The film points out this adulation of US more than once. Also, it's grifting 101 that you can't reveal your real connections because then it would give scrutiny to your own con especially if one of you were found it or had to exit the situation prematurely. The other could lie and say they were duped as well, etc. 

  

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9 hours ago, Athena said:

As to why the lie about Jessica not being related, this is all about connections. Networking and connections are a big deal in East Asian cultures. That's human nature and prevalent in the West as well, but the idea of Meritocracy and American Dream glosses over it (which the film skewers too). In some ways, Asian cultures are more overt and honest that it's really about who you know rather than what you know that can get you positioned upwards. It's part of the grim reality which is why the film's set up with Min is important for the rest of the movie. 

Also, it's grifting 101 that you can't reveal your real connections because then it would give scrutiny to your own con especially if one of you were found it or had to exit the situation prematurely. The other could lie and say they were duped as well, etc. 

  

This all makes a lot of sense, thanks.  It was interesting to me that the truth was never even considered.   The movie also does something a bit different with the con in that the Kims do their work well once they're in.   They goof around when the family goes camping but they're doing anything overt to hurt the Parks.   They did nasty things to set up the driver and housekeeper but were doing what they could to hang onto their good positions.   The desperate reasons for this are obvious but the fact that they didn't feel any compassion towards the housekeeper's position, just a teeny bit at the end, makes them less sympathetic overall, though no one deserved to die.

 

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The other thing I liked about the movie is that I'm sure the Parks considered themselves decent employers. I happen to know enough people who have worked for the super-rich to know the horror stories that come with the territory -- the underpaying, the cruel demands, the ungodly hours, the abuse and exploitation. Mr. Park is sort of a dick but the kids seem to take after the nicer Mrs. Park. And the Parks were not exploitative -- they did seem to pay well and paid extra for extra demands. 

It's just that the gulf between the Parks and the Kims is so wide that they both dehumanize each other without being aware of it. 

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On 3/9/2020 at 5:44 PM, Growsonwalls said:

The other thing I liked about the movie is that I'm sure the Parks considered themselves decent employers. I happen to know enough people who have worked for the super-rich to know the horror stories that come with the territory -- the underpaying, the cruel demands, the ungodly hours, the abuse and exploitation. Mr. Park is sort of a dick but the kids seem to take after the nicer Mrs. Park. And the Parks were not exploitative -- they did seem to pay well and paid extra for extra demands. 

It's just that the gulf between the Parks and the Kims is so wide that they both dehumanize each other without being aware of it. 

I think this is a great observation. The Parks treat the help well and pay well, but they also dehumanize the Kims when they think they can be at their beck and call. The last few scenes were kind of unsettling to me - when Mrs. Park was happily chatting with Jessica about throwing an improptu birthday party for her son, and to top it off with "icing on the cake", she entices Jessica by saying she will pay her for the day, even though it's not actual work. Then she tells Mr. Park that she had already asked Mr. Kim to hurry over and that she will pay him overtime, as if that's the only thing that drives Mr. Kim. This is all without ever stopping to think that the Kims - on their day off - may actually have other things to do, or planned. Even without the storm in the picture.

I think the way Mrs. Park acted in those last few scenes is how a lot of rich people act in real life. Even though the intentions are very well-meaning, they think that they can just wave bills in front of the help and the poor and they will come for it. 

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1 hour ago, slowpoked said:

Mrs. Park was happily chatting with Jessica about throwing an improptu birthday party for her son, and to top it off with "icing on the cake", she entices Jessica by saying she will pay her for the day, even though it's not actual work. Then she tells Mr. Park that she had already asked Mr. Kim to hurry over and that she will pay him overtime, as if that's the only thing that drives Mr. Kim. This is all without ever stopping to think that the Kims - on their day off - may actually have other things to do, or planned. Even without the storm in the picture.

I think the way Mrs. Park acted in those last few scenes is how a lot of rich people act in real life. Even though the intentions are very well-meaning, they think that they can just wave bills in front of the help and the poor and they will come for it. 

I agree and I noticed that on her phone call with Jessica she doesn't even wait for Jessica to reply before hanging up on her as if it's a done deal. Jessica and Kevin are actually presented as middle-class. Jessica is supposedly the most highly skilled and Mrs Park treats her as if she is the lowliest help who would love to spend her day off at a kid's birthday party. 

I liked how realistic Boon wrote the Parks. They aren't malevolent. They are out of touch and not empathetic to their employees. They aren't the worse rich people to work for but they exhibit their most common behaviour.

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10 hours ago, slowpoked said:

I think this is a great observation. The Parks treat the help well and pay well, but they also dehumanize the Kims when they think they can be at their beck and call. The last few scenes were kind of unsettling to me - when Mrs. Park was happily chatting with Jessica about throwing an improptu birthday party for her son, and to top it off with "icing on the cake", she entices Jessica by saying she will pay her for the day, even though it's not actual work. Then she tells Mr. Park that she had already asked Mr. Kim to hurry over and that she will pay him overtime, as if that's the only thing that drives Mr. Kim. This is all without ever stopping to think that the Kims - on their day off - may actually have other things to do, or planned. Even without the storm in the picture.

I think the way Mrs. Park acted in those last few scenes is how a lot of rich people act in real life. Even though the intentions are very well-meaning, they think that they can just wave bills in front of the help and the poor and they will come for it. 

I could actually imagine the Parks socializing with their rich friends who share tips of how to manage "help" and them saying, "Ugh, we don't do THAT." Which is the tragedy of the movie ... I think Mr. Park went to his death genuinely believing that he treated people well, and Mrs. Park also thought she did all the right things. And in a way they did treat the help "well," in the sense that they paid them, did not exploit them, and were not overtly cruel. But with their bubble of all that money I'm not sure any of them will ever get that randomly inconveniencing people to throw a birthday party, or making snide comments about smell, are microaggressions that can build up as much resentment as overt abuse.

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When I watched the movie a second time another thing that underscored how out of touch the Parks were was that the mom kept calling the backyard birthday party an "impromptu", which it was.  There was a humanitarian crisis not far from where the Parks, a family of means, power, and connections, lived that they could have invested their resources into that day, especially given they didn't have plans as they were supposed to be camping.  Instead they threw a party.  And all the other people who were invited at the last minute who clearly had nothing else to do that day could have spent their efforts elsewhere as well.  I could see not cancelling your son's birthday party if you already spent the time and money in planning it and friends/family were already committed to come and he was looking forward to it but it's made abundantly clear that that was not the case.  Hell, they could have done both.

Edited by kiddo82
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On 3/14/2020 at 6:06 PM, kiddo82 said:

When I watched the movie a second time another thing that underscored how out of touch the Parks were was that the mom kept calling the backyard birthday party an "impromptu", which it was.  There was a humanitarian crisis not far from where the Parks, a family of means, power, and connections, lived that they could have invested their resources into that day, especially given they didn't have plans as they were supposed to be camping.  Instead they threw a party.  And all the other people who were invited at the last minute who clearly had nothing else to do that day could have spent their efforts elsewhere as well.  I could see not cancelling your son's birthday party if you already spent the time and money in planning it and friends/family were already committed to come and he was looking forward to it but it's made abundantly clear that that was not the case.  Hell, they could have done both.

Another thing about the party was that, like all things the Parks seem to do, it wasn't all that fun. Like many rich people their parties seem more for the adults than for the kids. It was basically their rich friends sitting around. The levity was very forced. 

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On 3/3/2020 at 11:56 AM, Athena said:

It is extremely hard to get into college in East Asia. Both the Kim kids could probably get into college in the West, but the Korean college entrance exam is extremely competitive. The family is also deep in debt like many poor Koreans. Getting into college would have put the Kim kids on a better trajectory but even then, there is a widening income gap in South Korea.

The son was paid (more than once?) to take the entrance exam for another student. So I believe he was able to get in, but I don't think their family could afford it. South Korea does not have the income-based financial aid system that US college students have. Scholarships exist, but they are rare.

Like many places, South Korea also has a lot of educated adults but not enough white collar entry level jobs. It's fairly difficult to climb up the corporate ladder unless you have nepotism on your side.

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Rewatching this on Hulu. One thing I noticed: why does Mrs. Park have to give the Park son a nickname of "Kevin" after knowing him for an hour? It seems benign but it's one of those little things that dehumanizes someone -- slapping another name on a person that's not an affectionate nickname. It's like she can't be bothered remembering his actual name.

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Ok on rewatch another detail that jumped out at me: the news reports said that Mr. Kim and Mr. Park were said to have had a good relationship, so the motive was unclear. I assume that came from interviews with the Parks. And that jumped out at me the second time I watched it: how much the Parks actually seemed to like the Kims. The younger son liked to sit in Jessica';s lap, Kevin was making out with the daughter, Mrs. Park seemed to have no one to talk to besides her help. Even Mr. Park made some dickish comments about "crossing the line" but at the party his actions seemed less callous the second time around. He was yelling at Mr. Kim to get the car, but it seemed an instinctual reaction to run from the melee. And he did yell "Throw the keys" when he saw Mr. Kim was still with Jessica. 

The Parks aren't bad people. They're not malicious. They're just so clueless in their rich bubble they have no idea what is happening around them. I really like how nuanced this film is. I've watched it a second time and my sympathies shift minute to minute. For instance I felt terrible for the old housekeeper and thought the Kims were real shits in the way they treated her.

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Having recently rewatched I also noticed differences between how the two families interact and perceive their own children.

The Kims for example as working poor seem to view everyone as equals.  Mr and Mrs Kim have always both worked and yet don't seem to be shoehorned into traditional gender roles.  Mr Kim doesn't assert himself as 'man of the house' and views his wife in every way his equal.  It goes the same for the kids.  Both of them are respected for their skill sets and Ki-Woo is never valued or favored over Ki-Jung. The parents only assume dated roles of driver and housekeeper once they are employed.

Now look at the Parks.  They are rich and seemingly modern looking in every way but in terms of family dynamics they assume a classic patriarchal structure.  Yeon is the stay at home corporate wife mom who has the time to cook and clean but because she is wealthy it is beneath 'her place.'. Her husband puts her in charge of household staff but fields every decision through him first.  And the relationship with the children is especially telling particularly the interaction regarding the ram-dom.  Da-Hye is the older daughter but with the exception of the beginning with getting a tutor she is essentially ignored the rest of the film in favor of Da-Song.  Mr. Park is seen as a playful father to Da-Song but never once interacts alone or shows interest in his daughter.  She is never considered when the ram-dom is unwanted, even though she likes it.  It's a sad portrait of a family who had the daughter first but once the "darling son" was born her needs and interests take a back seat.

It's amazing how many angles with these families have been explored but that's what happens when the writing is so damn good.

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On 4/15/2020 at 2:27 PM, kittykat said:

Having recently rewatched I also noticed differences between how the two families interact and perceive their own children.

The Kims for example as working poor seem to view everyone as equals.  Mr and Mrs Kim have always both worked and yet don't seem to be shoehorned into traditional gender roles.  Mr Kim doesn't assert himself as 'man of the house' and views his wife in every way his equal.  It goes the same for the kids.  Both of them are respected for their skill sets and Ki-Woo is never valued or favored over Ki-Jung. The parents only assume dated roles of driver and housekeeper once they are employed.

Now look at the Parks.  They are rich and seemingly modern looking in every way but in terms of family dynamics they assume a classic patriarchal structure.  Yeon is the stay at home corporate wife mom who has the time to cook and clean but because she is wealthy it is beneath 'her place.'. Her husband puts her in charge of household staff but fields every decision through him first.  And the relationship with the children is especially telling particularly the interaction regarding the ram-dom.  Da-Hye is the older daughter but with the exception of the beginning with getting a tutor she is essentially ignored the rest of the film in favor of Da-Song.  Mr. Park is seen as a playful father to Da-Song but never once interacts alone or shows interest in his daughter.  She is never considered when the ram-dom is unwanted, even though she likes it.  It's a sad portrait of a family who had the daughter first but once the "darling son" was born her needs and interests take a back seat.

It's amazing how many angles with these families have been explored but that's what happens when the writing is so damn good.

So much this. I also noticed that the Parks went camping not because they really wanted it but because their spoiled son wanted it. 

In Asian cultures we actually have a name for this: it's called "little emperors." Asian cultures still value sons more and it's actually become a social problem as only child families are more common where these sons are spoiled rotten. 

I kind of wonder how Mrs. Park will fare after the movie is over. She doesn't have many skills -- she can't even make ramen. 

Another thing I noticed upon rewatch was how much affection existed between the Mr. and Mrs. Kim and also the old housekeeper and her husband. Mr. Kim gives his wife a sneaky pinch on the butt when she becomes the housekeeper and they seem to have a strong relationship. Mr. and Mrs. Park don't seem to have much in common and even their sex scene is noticeably missing in any affection. 

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On 4/17/2020 at 4:40 AM, Growsonwalls said:

I kind of wonder how Mrs. Park will fare after the movie is over. She doesn't have many skills -- she can't even make ramen. 

I imagine her ending up in a similar marriga to her first. 

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On 3/11/2020 at 10:31 AM, Athena said:

I agree and I noticed that on her phone call with Jessica she doesn't even wait for Jessica to reply before hanging up on her as if it's a done deal. Jessica and Kevin are actually presented as middle-class. Jessica is supposedly the most highly skilled and Mrs Park treats her as if she is the lowliest help who would love to spend her day off at a kid's birthday party. 

I liked how realistic Boon wrote the Parks. They aren't malevolent. They are out of touch and not empathetic to their employees. They aren't the worse rich people to work for but they exhibit their most common behaviour.

I really wonder if that's typical.  I don't know about Korea but in other Asian nations like HK and Singapore, the domestic help come from poorer nations like Indonesia and the Philipines.

I don't think the foreigners are treated as well.  If not overtly abusive, they certainly aren't that friendly to the hired help.

Only other film of Bong that I've seen is Snowpiercer, where of course you had the overt class structure but it was more allegorical, not meant to depict some real society in literal terms.

The Kims don't seem to be experienced grifters, except for Jessica.  Kevin was at first reluctant to take over the job of his friend.  Of course as soon as he saw an opportunity to get Jessica in, he jumped at it.

It certainly didn't seem like there was a specific plan to get the whole family in on it.  Jessica was the one who seems to be able to adjust on the fly, as she said she ad-libbed most of it.  Did she plan to plant her panties in the car or was she ad-libbing?

How well do they know how rich the Parks are or do they just assume they're able to hire all 4 of them?

Park seemed to own a tech company.  You'd think he'd have security people who would professionally vet them.  In fact I wonder if domestic help is mostly contracted through companies, like the fake one they made up.  So Mrs. Park hired the first 3 just on networking but the last one was through the fake company.  It might be more realistic that they'd already know about companies which provide domestic help, especially from their friends.

 

I'm going to check out those links posted in the thread to learn about their class structure, how much of a big deal inequality is.

 

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On 4/9/2020 at 3:09 PM, Growsonwalls said:

Rewatching this on Hulu. One thing I noticed: why does Mrs. Park have to give the Park son a nickname of "Kevin" after knowing him for an hour? It seems benign but it's one of those little things that dehumanizes someone -- slapping another name on a person that's not an affectionate nickname. It's like she can't be bothered remembering his actual name.

I don't know if it's the case in Korea but in HK, adopting English first names seemed to be fashionable, at least for a time.

For instance, Bruce Lee took his English name but didn't speak English.  Same with director John Woo.

Mrs. Park peppered in English phrases and words in her conversations so maybe it's trendy with a certain class.

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On 2/13/2020 at 3:21 AM, Spartan Girl said:

I do think the Kims felt remorse over their actions, especially because their daughter was murdered. Mr Kim definitely was remorseful after the fact, though not enough to turn himself in -- I'm not sure being in jail is worse than hiding in the basement for the rest of his life, at least in jail he'd get to see his family, wouldn't he?

 

Just did a quick search, there is capital punishment in Korea.

Not sure if his acts would get him executed but maybe that's what keeps him in that basement.

I'm sure he ends up trapped there for the symbolism, at least in part.

 

The previous housekeeper and her husband, when she goes down there, she gives him a baby bottle and he sucks whatever liquid is in there through the nipple.  Of course if she brought a standard container, there wouldn't be the same symbolism.

When he taps out the morse code with his forehead, he ends up bloodied before he attacks the garden party.  I wonder if the blood patterns on his face and forehead, which makes him look scary, is part of some Korean folklore imagery.  The Parks said there might be a ghost or the young kid thought he saw a ghost, which was likely that old man.

Mrs. Park also referenced setting up the garden party tables in the lawn in some kind of pattern, as if the teepee as a Japanese warship and the tables are Korean ships surrounding it.  Again, maybe a cultural thing but it doesn't seem like it would be a woman referencing some military history.

Then of course "Jessica" spouted a lot of psychobabble as part of her grift, even claimed there was some structure to the childish drawings by the kid.  Curious how that went over in Korea, the Parks are presumably well-educated but they're repeatedly gaslit or fooled by uneducated -- but streetsmart? -- grifters.  I would presume academic and professional achievement are highly valued so to have what should be "superior" people have the wool pulled over their eyes may be controversial to an extent in that society.

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12 hours ago, scrb said:

I really wonder if that's typical.  I don't know about Korea but in other Asian nations like HK and Singapore, the domestic help come from poorer nations like Indonesia and the Philipines.

I don't think the foreigners are treated as well.  If not overtly abusive, they certainly aren't that friendly to the hired help.

Only other film of Bong that I've seen is Snowpiercer, where of course you had the overt class structure but it was more allegorical, not meant to depict some real society in literal terms.

The Kims don't seem to be experienced grifters, except for Jessica.  Kevin was at first reluctant to take over the job of his friend.  Of course as soon as he saw an opportunity to get Jessica in, he jumped at it.

It certainly didn't seem like there was a specific plan to get the whole family in on it.  Jessica was the one who seems to be able to adjust on the fly, as she said she ad-libbed most of it.  Did she plan to plant her panties in the car or was she ad-libbing?

How well do they know how rich the Parks are or do they just assume they're able to hire all 4 of them?

Park seemed to own a tech company.  You'd think he'd have security people who would professionally vet them.  In fact I wonder if domestic help is mostly contracted through companies, like the fake one they made up.  So Mrs. Park hired the first 3 just on networking but the last one was through the fake company.  It might be more realistic that they'd already know about companies which provide domestic help, especially from their friends.

In South Korea and Japan are very homogenous and do not rely on hired help from South East Asia. The largest group of foreigners in South Korea are the Chinese for a variety of reasons. A lot of service work in South Korea is done by Koreans. 

I think most of the Kims have been use to hustling which helps with grifting. The father had tried various schemes to get rich in the past and failed and the kids were obviously trying to find more stable work. Jessica was the best one in terms of being intelligence and being able to pull it off with confidence. I think once they kids got in, they saw an opportunity to get them all in. I don't think it was that far off for them to assume all four could be hired because only two of them were truly full time: the housekeeper and the driver. Also the Parks were very rich given the location and size of their home. Seoul housing is a huge marker of status. 

Mr Park did not really care about the day to day domestic help and they did not even vet their house keeper who came with the actual house so not a surprise there. 

 

12 hours ago, scrb said:

Mrs. Park also referenced setting up the garden party tables in the lawn in some kind of pattern, as if the teepee as a Japanese warship and the tables are Korean ships surrounding it.  Again, maybe a cultural thing but it doesn't seem like it would be a woman referencing some military history.

Then of course "Jessica" spouted a lot of psychobabble as part of her grift, even claimed there was some structure to the childish drawings by the kid.  Curious how that went over in Korea, the Parks are presumably well-educated but they're repeatedly gaslit or fooled by uneducated -- but streetsmart? -- grifters.  I would presume academic and professional achievement are highly valued so to have what should be "superior" people have the wool pulled over their eyes may be controversial to an extent in that society.

Mrs Park is referencing the Battle of Hansan Island which was a pivotal battle of the Imjin War between the Koreans and the Japanese. I have been Korea and consumed enough Korea media to know that the Imjin War is one of the most important in their history so this kind of military knowledge is something all Koreans were taught. 

Mrs Park is educated to a point, but she was naive to a certain degree. Also, many people believe in alternative therapies for whatever reason and there is a huge industry of it in the West too. Jessica was clever and a good grifter and she did her job extremely well. A lot of film critics and people enjoyed the Jessica character specifically for her grit and tragedy too. 

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Just watched this on Hulu and read through most of the posts.

  • Near the end, Mr. Kim tells his son it's better not to make plans, and, indeed, it is the son's plan to take the rock and go murder the former housekeeper and her husband in the basement that triggers and unleashes the birthday party massacre. Still, at the very end, the son devises another--better--plan, also doomed to fail --especially now that the son has suffered a TBI. 
     
  • Of the 3 fatalities from each of the 3 families:
    • "Jessica" was a seemingly incorrigible scam artist at the heart of the plot, so perhaps deserved her fate, and yet ultimately her "art therapy" may have been healing for the traumatized boy.
       
    • Mr. Park recognizing the Kim family's smell seemed to me (unlike his son) possibly to be remembering from his own, pre-success past, maybe living in basements prone to flooding and mold. I thought maybe Mr. Park's real "sin" was refusing to admit to Mr. Kim that he loved his wife --as well as not making any effort to try to save Mr. Kim's daughter along with his own son. But it was not "appropriate" for Mr. Kim to demand that Mr. Park share his feelings, and  Mr. Kim's daughter was stabbed in the heart and obviously dying, so Mr. Park may have just been too pragmatic --a common failing of successful and wealthy capitalists who have many employees beneath them.
       
    • The original housekeeper's death seems to mirror the deaths of many poor who just cannot get by, no matter how hard they try. 
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