Parasite ★★★★★

So, We’re Sure These Are the Best of the Decade?

Parasite is like the nefarious twin of Shoplifters (a comparison I’m sure someone has made before); both Palme d’Or winners are about families living in squalor, using subversive means to survive, but Shoplifters embraces the family unit as the formation of emotional bonds, while Parasite offers the idea that families are central to economic prosperity. Kore-eda’s sweet portrait of a makeshift household has a gentle, poetic rhythm, whereas Bong’s darkly comedic thriller draws you in with a constantly escalating conflict.

Parasite is an easy foreign film to cut your teeth on: The theme of class conflict is universal, the story moves along briskly, and there’s an abundance of humor. I love how the conflict pivots in the last half, implying that class consciousness cannot be attained while the dream of social mobility still lives. I also love the whole cast, particularly Cho Yeo-jeong, whose performance as Yeon-gyo, the absent-minded mother of the wealthy Park family, provides consistent comedy.

Will Parasite take home the big prize? Doubtful, if only because 1917 seems poised to snatch up the Academy's producers’ votes and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will probably mop the other categories. Still, it’s great seeing a movie this impeccable get the spotlight, if only for a brief moment.

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