We here at Cosmopolitan are absolutely obsessed with movies, but we get that you’re a busy person and it’s hard to see all the films that are going to be “important” in any given year. In this series, Low-Key Highbrow, we’re giving you the basic gist on every one of those pictures you probably should have seen but never got around to. When your friend inevitably throws that Oscars watch party, we’re here to help you scam your way into sounding like the smartest person in the room.
Parasite is, without a doubt, the best movie of the year. Directed by Bong Joon-ho, the film follows a lower-class Korean family as they subtly and smartly infiltrate the household of a wealthy family in their city by getting jobs working there. As the movie progresses, the Kims discover there’s something weird going on in the Parks’ house and they wind up tangled in a literal life-or-death situation they never anticipated. If it sounds insane, that’s because it is—but in the best way possible.
The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this past May (read: fancy) and won the biggest prize the festival gives. Since then, Parasite has earned a 99 percent critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning 99 percent of the reviews for the film have been positive. Sometimes that doesn’t translate to average people liking a movie though, but Parasite also has a 93 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
When I, a fairly regular person, saw it, I was blown away by how fresh and creative the idea was. The film uses physical spaces as characters. Like, the house the Parks live in is just as much a part of the story as anything else. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, and the ending created this feeling of dread that made me second-guess the entire institution of capitalism. It’s a story about wealth and privilege and what happens when those things are dispersed unevenly, which is relevant to pretty much the entire world right now.
The Oscars are not great at recognizing foreign-language films in the big categories, but Parasite just won Best Picture. Here’s what you need to know about the discourse around the film.
Why people would be pumped if it won:
- This movie is original as f*ck. As Hollywood becomes more and more dependent on franchises, remakes, and reboots, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a movie that’s based on a brand-spanking-new idea be as well liked as this is. The film industry had an opportunity here to recognize something new and different, and that’s really exciting.
- It was the underdog. This is a movie coming into this race from outside the U.S. While it’s consistently been thought of as the best film of the year, a lot of people thought it had no shot at winning because it’s not an American movie. Now we know that's not the case. People love an underdog!
- This might sound shocking, but the best movie of the year doesn’t always win Best Picture. A lot of these awards depend on luck, money, and a variety of other factors that are really hard to control. This is maybe the most universally loved of all the nominees, so most people would be happy if it took home the top prize.
- Bong Joon-ho, the director, has been a big deal in South Korea for a long time now, but since this film came out, he’s gotten some well-deserved star power in the U.S. That’s a big deal. The Academy usually favors U.S.- and L.A.-based talent, so it’s refreshing to see them looking outside their own very small box. Bong himself called the Oscars “local,” which sums up everything you need to know about this.
Why people would be pissed if it won:
- Truly, this is hard to say! It’s absolutely brilliant and people love it.
- No, seriously, everyone loves this movie.
- ...The only thing someone could maybe say is that it shouldn’t win Best Picture because like 1917, none of the actors in the movie are nominated in the acting categories. Of the 544 movies nominated for Best Picture during the history of the Oscars, only 11 have won the top award without acting nominations. I would flip that around and say that if this is the best movie of the year and it’s acted SO well, why are none of those people nominated? Could it possibly be that all the actors are people of color and only one person of color was nominated for an acting award this year (Cynthia Erivo for Harriet)? Every other nominee is white. The statistics on how the Oscars have neglected people of color throughout their history are pretty damning.
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