Parasite Ending Explained: Know More About the Movie!

parasite ending explained

The financially precarious Kim family, including parents Chung-suk and Ki-taek (Jang Hye-jin and Song Kang-ho) and children Ki-woo and Ki-jung (Choi Woo-shik and Park So-dam), are the subject of the razor-sharp class commentary.

They gradually infiltrate the wealthy Park family’s domestic staff, eliminating everyone in their way, including Moon-gwang, the Parks’ former housekeeper (Lee Jung-Eun).

The Kims’ secret is revealed when the fired Moon-gwang comes to the home one night, and she also reveals her own: her husband, Oh Geun-sae (Park Myung-hoon), has been hiding from loan sharks in the home’s basement bunker for years.

Chung-suk kicks Moon-gwang down the underground stairs, murdering her in their frantic attempt to protect their individual secrets from the Parks.

The following day, when Geun-sae, furious with sadness, escapes from the bunker on a mission for vengeance, she knocks Ki-woo out cold in the process, turning the young Park Da-(Jung song’s Hyeon-jun) backyard birthday celebration into a bloodbath.

Partygoers escape in panic when Geun-sae kills Ki-jung, Chung-suk kills Geun-sae, and Ki-taek kills Park patriarch Dong-ik (Jung Ji-so).

Ki-woo eventually recovers from his wounds, but he and Chung-suk are found guilty of fraud, while Ki-taek hides from the police in the Park family bunker. In order to reconcile the remaining Kims, Ki-woo devises a scheme to become wealthy and purchase the Park estate on his own. Does that wish come true, though?

 The beauty of a movie like Parasite is that some details, like the precise reasons Ki-taek chose to stab Dong-ik, are quite up to interpretation (I’ve published an article about one approach to look at it through the perspective of parasitism and host-parasite relationships).

That being said, there are certain important points that are subtly reinforced, and they may all be summed up in the following statement: there is no getting out of the basement.

Three families are depicted in the parasite: the Parks, Kims, and Ohs, who live upstairs, downstairs, and in the sub-basement.

All of them are essentially good people who consistently act in the interests of their families, but by the end, the Parks have lost a father, the Kims have lost a father (effectively) and a daughter, and both Ohs have passed away as a result of a chain of events that were started by the Kims’ determination to improve their situation.

While nobody escapes without some sort of scar, those who began out with the least tend to suffer the most and those who started out with the most tend to suffer the least. Mobility is something that the Parks’ wealth and rank give them and only them.

When everything is said and done, they alone will have the freedom to leave their home, which has now become a crime scene and resume their lives. Other families do not have these privileges. The Kims and the Ohs are imprisoned—in their graves, in a bunker, or in an apartment in a semi-basement.

The standard fable of capitalism is that effort is rewarded. There is a mythical ladder of achievement, and no matter what rung you begin on, you may climb your way to lofty heights if you toil long and wisely.

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Effort, intelligence, and especially a dash of cunning will get you places. The ultimate representation of this well-known tale appears in Parasite in the form of a scholar’s rock given to the Kim family early on by the same schoolmate who suggests Ki-woo for the Park tutoring position that sets the plot of the movie in action.

For thousands of years, “scholars’ rocks,” also known as “viewing stones” (suseok in Korean), have been a sign of social standing and academic success.

But if you pay careful attention to Parasite, you’ll see that this specific scholar’s rock is a lie, just like the story it symbolizes: when Ki-woo saves it from the flooded apartment, it floats up to the surface exactly the way a stone shouldn’t-unless, of course, it’s not really a stone at all.

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In a strange way, Ki-life woo’s is actually saved by this deception. He eventually brings the rock to the Park home the day of Da-party song’s after saving it from the river, probably with the intention of using it as a weapon to kill Moon-gwang and Geun-sae.

Moon-gwang has already succumbed to her concussion, and Geun-sae quickly gains the upper hand over Ki-woo when they face off and he hits the younger man over the head with the stone not once but twice, so it’s unclear whether or not he would have been able to actually bash their heads in with a rock. Ki-woo had no chance of surviving both blows if the scholar’s rock had been the genuine article.

parasite ending explained

Ki-optimistic woo’s future visions include an image of him lowering the scholar’s rock into a river, where it sinks at the bottom as it should, underscoring his continued belief in the myth of upward mobility despite all evidence to the contrary. In his dream, the stone is genuine. This is Bong’s elegantly straightforward method of telling you that the dream is only a fantasy with no chance of coming true.

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Why then does Ki-woo continue to believe the fantasy? Perhaps because he continues to be that naive in spite of everything. Or maybe he’s come to the realization that it hurts less to soothe oneself with unattainable illusions than to face a harsh reality. This final passage is magnificently heartbreaking, and your interpretation of it is all up to you.


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