MovieGoer20’s review published on Letterboxd:
I never saw any advertisements for this film, but everyone I talked to was just raving on and on about how great it was. I heard it was one of the films of the year and some even called it a masterpiece. Every critic, Youtuber, and moviegoer alike were praising this film. I was ready for something special here.
The film follows a low income family struggling in life who’s son starts tutoring a rich family’s daughter. After this the rest of family members start to infiltrate the rich family’s life and start scamming them with lies about who they are.
I have not seen director Bong Joon- ho’s other films but after this one I think I might have to because it is a beautiful and smart film with great direction. The film’s music choices were very good and well chosen for each particular scene and was used appropriately every time. The cinematography especially that of the city was very beautiful to look at and the settings were very nice to go through. This is a film that knew how to tell a story through visuals. When the characters aren’t talking, visuals take over a lot of the time. There’s a scene where a giant rainstorm hits the city and we just have these incredible images playing out in addition to the breathtaking cinematography. It’s little details like how both families perceive a rainstorm that makes the film tight. The rich family sees it as something beautiful while the poor family is determined it’s the end because they’re panicking to stop their house from flooding. This family literally lives lower because they live almost underground in the city. A lot of movies will portray less fortunate families as not so intelligent but in this film this poor family is really smart and it’s their intelligence that helps them get work and fool the rich family. They have to use their wits to do anything to get money and help their financial situation. The rich family isn’t the brightest family in the world either but just the way the poor family’s plan unfolded so masterfully at first was just intriguing and also pretty funny. This film is really funny a lot of the time. Its humor is smart and creative and just overall well written. If it wasn’t well written it obviously wouldn’t work, but this comedy was very well put together in a way that helped it stand out. The characters were all very well written and well developed. I could feel the struggle and the desperation from this poor family trying to just survive. The rich family aren’t complete idiots and they’re also not villains either. It’s mainly the poor family’s jealousy and want of their rich lifestyle and wishing they were in that position instead of them. Nobody is really the true bad guy here and it’s just life which makes the film feel more real. The film starts out pretty funny at first, but then the tone shifts from funny to serious pretty fast and it is a very well done tone shift because it shows how everything can just come crashing down at once just how life does. The film has visuals connecting the story with connective tissue with small details and if you pay attention you can see a story being told. The images used are so subtle you might not notice but it’s really ambitious in this way. It’s also ambitious purely by how well the different genres are blended together in this film. Also like other great films, this film is very ambiguous for not directly telling you what everyone is feeling. You have to look at everyone’s facial expression in order to know what they are saying or feeling and I loved that for the reason that it makes you connect with the characters even more. It’s wonderfully acted in that sense too. I might not recognize many of the actors but everyone in this film played their part to perfection and I had no trouble connecting to anyone because everyone was so well written. This film really understood how to make everything feel natural and it really shined from comedy to drama. Nobody was underused and everyone was given the spotlight. This film got a lot of laughs from me and it also made me think. This really made the experience better because not many movies like this one come around too often. My only complaint personally was that I didn’t like the romance between the poor son and the rich daughter. I thought that was kind of forced in there, but it still wasn’t bad. I never felt the runtime like my colleague did because I was having a good time and I was so sucked in by the story. It was a very well paced movie in my eyes that never dragged.
Conclusion: This is definitely one of the best foreign films you’ll see. It’s a very ambitious movie that blends everything together brilliantly and is just beautiful to look at. I might not be head over heels for it like everyone else and I thing masterpiece might be a bit of a stretch. However this is still a really good film that’s worth your attention and time. I see award winning down the road for this one. Go see it if you can.