First, I have a bone to pick with the Academy. It is just not fair for a movie to compete for Best Picture and Best International Picture (a new category replacing Best Foreign Language Picture). I think the producers should have to choose. Go up against four other non-English films, or roll the dice for the Big One. Please understand, I do not begrudge Parasite winning Best Picture, as our Pathetic-Lout-in-Chief does (“Why not more Gone With the Wind? he whined. Maybe because it’s not 1939?) I just don’t think it should have won both.
That said, although this is a terrific movie, clever and funny and unexpectedly gruesome, it is not my pick for best of the year. It is not as stunningly different as Jojo Rabbit, and not as just all-around fantastic as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I think it’s a tad better than another great film, The Irishman. Much better than Marriage Story. I haven’t seen Ford v Ferrari, Joker, Little Women (Was that really necessary? Again?) or 1917.
The writing and acting are great. So is the direction, as this freeloading poor family gradually takes over the beautiful but cold modern house from the clueless rich people who live there. They are wonderful cons, but don’t suspect for a moment that the house has secrets they have yet to discover. The ending is a bit shocking and quite sad, but I can’t say anything more about that.
This movie is not a dud, as some Best Pictures of the past have been, in my opinion. Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction? Gimme a break! Braveheart over Apollo 13? Braveheart wasn’t even the best movie about a Scottish hero that year. See Rob Roy, which wasn’t even nominated. Not a travesty, but Parasite just wasn’t the best. I haven’t seen any of the four other contenders for Best International, but I plan to. They will have to go a ways to be better than this.