Review of Parasite (Movie) – Xixiang Weng (weng.156)

The material I choose for this assignment is a Korean film named Parasite, which is released in 2019. The plot of this movie starts as Kim Ki-woo, who is the son of Kim’s family got a tutor job of Park family by the recommendation of his friend. After that, all the members of Kim’s family use some strategy to successfully get jobs in the Park family. During the time working for Park’s family, the difference of the social class initials the contradiction between two families. At last, in an accidental event, the father of the Park’s family is killed by the father of Kim’s family.

In this movie, “smell” and “line” go through the most of plot and they become the sign of the social status. For instance, in the middle of the movie, while Kim’s family make a party at Park’s house when they think Park’s family is go hiking and won’t return in a short time, Park’s family suddenly go back home since the change of weather. Kim’s family hide under the sofa in a hurry. Father of the Park family don’t see them and start to make a casual talk to his wife which is about he thinks father of Kim’s family smells bad, and usually pass the “line”, such as talk to him like they are friends, which make him very uncomfortable. This conversation is heard by Kim’s family hiding under the sofa in the meantime. When I watch this plot last year, I used to think about where the “smell” on Kim’s family comes from and what is the “line” they talk about. After thinking about it, I think the “smell” of Kim’s family is the moldy smell of the semi-basement without sunlight. However, I think the “smell” represents more than itself. It reveals the different living environments between rich and poor people which can also be extended to the concern of difference of social status. The father of the Park family also really cares about the “line” between himself and the father of Kim’s family. He cannot bear that poor people talk to him in a relative equals atmosphere. In his mind, Kim’s family is treated as “Othering”. This is very similar to the condition Ortiz faced in the material we have read before, “The Story of My Body”. The only difference I think between those two is that Ortiz is treated as “Othering” by her physical looking, but Kim’s family is treated as “Othering” by their socioeconomic status.

In general, I think the creator of this movie wants the audience to think about the cruelty and injustice caused by wealth differentiation. In my opinion, he did a very good job. He skillfully uses the “smell” and “line” to represent the injustice and the difference of identity and power between rich and poor people, but not state them directly. I think in this way the audience could get more impressive and deeper thinking about the injustice and “Othering”.

Dances with Wolves

Amanda Nall


Text Review Assignment: Dances with Wolves

Dances with Wolves is set in 1863 (filmed in 1990) and depicts the meeting and development of multiple relationships between a Union Army lieutenant, John Dunbar, and the Sioux people across South Dakota and Wyoming.

Most generally there is a difference in power between the Americans and the Native Americans that resides all throughout the movie. It is the preface through which the actions of John Dunbar are decided upon and it is the top concern for the Sioux chief, Kicking Bird. Relative to this class, the Native American people are seen as the Other by the Union Army and experience aggressive take over of the land that the Native Americans call home. They are dehumanized and seen as savages. At the end of the movie, Dunbar returns to his post and is dressed as a Sioux person but he is shot at and his horse, Cisco, dies because the Union Army blindly shot at someone who resembled a “savage”.

One intimate relationship develops between John Dunbar and an American woman, Stands with a Fist, who was taken in by the Sioux chief, Kicking Bird, at the age of six. Stands with a Fist is challenged by meeting another white person after having grown up and married within the Sioux tribe. She has to remember how to speak english and to open herself back up after losing her pervious husband. Stands with a Fist is battling her identity and trying to understand it after she has intimate feelings for John Dunbar but is, temporarily, banned from relations by the chief. Once the chief grants her freedom, she experiences an overwhelming affection for Dunbar and they are married soon after.

Throughout Dances with Wolves the main themes, discussed above, are morphed into a beautiful story and the development of personal relationships. I think that the director wants the audience to understand that getting to know someone is a rewarding experience and forming new relationships, keeping and open mind, and placing trusting others can bring rewards that reach beyond even the largest power struggles. I think that this movie is a perfect example to talk about identity and power and it is interesting that I found less injustice that expected. Perhaps there was less injustice on the plains of America before is was colonized by immigrants. The power struggle between the Union Army and the Sioux is clearly developed throughout the film and is a basis for many of the tribes actions and thus the plot of the movie. The identity struggle of both Stands with a Fist and John Dunbar is portrayed and both people learn to develop their identities in order to understand each other and be together.

Identity, Power, and Injustice in Mudbound

I watched the Netflix movie Mudbound, which takes place in rural Mississippi during and after World War II. It’s really good, and I suggest you watch it. Here’s my attempt at a two sentence summary (spoiler alert):

A black family works as sharecroppers on a white family’s farm, and a young man from each of these families goes overseas to fight in World War II. The movie depicts the racial climate in America at the time, but the white man that went to war was saved by a black soldier, becomes accepting of African Americans, and eventually murders his KKK-supporting father.


To me, this movie was about how culture and experience creates various Us versus Them frameworks. In Mississippi at the time, sharecropping resembled slavery in many disturbing ways, and the integration of blacks and whites was frowned upon by many. This created a clear Othering of blacks by many whites. Interestingly, we see that the two soldiers are able to become an “Us” as they were on the same side in war. Americans, no matter their race, were fighting to defeat the Germans. The white soldier becomes good friends with the black soldier as they bond over their war experiences and traumas, and he ultimately delivers justice to his father (who tortures the black soldier).


Throughout the movie, we see white police officers taking part in racist acts. The producers did an excellent job of showing that the racist sharecropping and other injustices (including lynchings) often weren’t done in secret – it was often those in power that took part in the racism. The white community controlled the narrative, and there was no where for many blacks to report the wrongdoings. Blacks were seen as subalterns, silenced, and subject to the power of whites.


When the African American soldier returns home, he realizes that the racist climate is the same as when he left. He just gambled his life for the safety of all Americans, and some of these same Americans continue to spit on him and make him exit stores from the back door. Not only did African Americans unjustly serve many white peoples’ wealth (e.g., sharecropping), but they were paradoxically seen as equal when lives had to be risked to protect America’s freedom. Despite who actually fought for it, this freedom served the whites in Mississippi and not the blacks.

I think the producers of this movie wanted to elucidate the wrongdoings of many Americans in the not so distant past. In particular, I think they wanted to show the injustice of black people who risked their lives to fight in the war and ultimately returned to racism in their home town. This was done incredibly by the producers – the black soldier is tortured by the KKK in the movie, and this was extremely powerful. Broadly speaking, the central question that this movie successfully asks is: What makes someone a part of Us and what makes someone else a part of Them/the Other?

Text Review on Crazy Rich Asians

The work that I want to examine is an American romantic comedy-drama called Crazy Rich Asians. This movie is an adaption of the eponymous novel written by Singaporean-American author Kevin Kwan.

The movie follows Rachel Chu (Wu), a deep-rooted American-born Chinese (so-called “banana”) economics professor who appears to be an Asian but is an American inside. Racheal’s boyfriend Nick Young (Golding) brought her from New York City to his hometown, Singapore, for his best friend’s wedding, and she expects to spend the summer getting to know Nick better. Before their departure, Rachel’s mother tries to impart to her daughter the importance of tradition, while she and her mother have a very nontraditional mother-daughter relationship for Chinese families indeed. From this scene, we can see the juxtaposition of American and Chinese traditions in an authentic immigrant family. In Singapore, Rachael finds out that Nick is from an unbelievably wealthy family, which Nick didn’t inform her. In such an upper social class like Nick’s, people regard wealth, pride, and prestige as the determinants of their identity in the society, therefore, they are constantly entangled in fierce competition. Because of his distinguished family background, Nick Young is one of the most eligible bachelors in his country, thus, every single woman in his social class is especially jealous of Rachel. Rachael is othered by Nick’s family and friends that she is not only gossiped and threatened by the rich “sisters” in a luxurious beach party, but also is she severely examined and blamed by Nick’s mother. All these factors of cultural collision, othering, and rigid hierarchy in the society contribute to Racheal’s deep feeling of unbelonging as well as isolation in Singapore. However, Racheal, as a Chinese descendant as well as a rational professor with both Asian and American values in her mind, tries to break through the cultural norms and to be her best and unique self.

Happily, at the end of the story, Racheal successfully settled the confliction and difficulties with Nick’s family, and they finally entered the marriage hall with their persistence and faith in love. Although the plot of this movie is quite similar to that of the typical Cinderella kind of story, the internal meanings and values behind it are really noteworthy.

Parasite Text Review assignment

The piece of work that I have chosen is the critically acclaimed 2019 thriller Parasite. In this movie we see a clash between two very different socioeconomic statuses. In the movie, a man from an impoverished family in South Korea fraudulently acquires a tutoring job for a very prestigious family to teach their daughter english. This man moves from one of the most impoverished parts of the city and starts spending a significant amount of time with this very wealthy family.

Throughout the story, the poor family is met with many different aspects of socioeconomic discrimination. Such as the rich family saying they have a horrible stench and treating them like servants. As the poor family starts to become more and more acquainted with this lavish lifestyle, things begin to complicate themselves. The poor family begins to feel comfortable lying to the rich family and start mooching off of the rich family, thus giving the film its name, Parasite.

Once the poor family begins to get a taste of a lavish lifestyle they don’t want to give it back up. This is understandable because coming from a life of poverty, why would they even imagine returning to their previous lifestyle, they now have jobs they wouldn’t have dreamed of having previously. At one point on the movie, the rich family goes on a weekend vacation and the poor family decides that they’ll spend the weekend in their employers home, destroying the place and enjoying a side of life they never would have previously dreamed of.

To avoid any spoilers for the movie (which I highly recommend watching on your own), I will summarize the main aspect of othering that I noticed throughout the film. The main theme of the movie is the disparity between classes in South Korea. The difference between living in poverty and being able to support your family. The lower class in South Korea is largely discriminated against, being thought of as dirty and unable to work, doing odd jobs just to skate by. This othering was extremely obvious in the movie because the upper class rarely considers the plight of the lower class and uses them to serve themselves thinking that the lower class owes it to them.

Orientalism in Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love is a movie based on the memoir Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. It chronicles Gilbert’s post-divorce search to ‘re-find her passion, her spark, her fire for life’ as she travels from her home in Manhattan to Italy, India, and Bali for one year. While this movie was widely popular when it came out, it has also been heavily critiqued for its reliance on orientalist tropes of the ‘Far East’ as a source of spiritual healing for white people. When Liz, the main character, travels to Italy she spends a significant amount of time with locals, even making an Italian family a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. However, when she travels to India and Bali the locals are in the background while she socializes with almost exclusively expats. The locals who Liz does interact with in India and Bali are reduced to stereotypes and caricatures, only there for Liz to use as steps to her ‘enlightenment.’ In the ashram in India she makes friends with a 17 year old girl, Tulsi, whom Liz comforts after she tells her she is being forced into an arranged marriage that she does not want, giving Liz the opportunity to reflect on her own failed marriage. In Bali she visits a ‘healer,’ Ketut, who “teaches her everything he knows” in broken English with a grin on his face, showing her the path to ‘balance’ in her life. In Bali she also makes friends with a single mother who heals her physical ailments and listens to her problems, a brown woman Liz ‘saves’ by collecting donations from her friends and family for the woman (seemingly without permission). India and Bali are also portrayed as simple and otherworldly, a “paradise” for Americans to “discover” and “find themselves.” The locals in India and Bali are background characters who don’t particularly seem to be existing in the 21st century, a spectacle to look at and to create the “peaceful” atmosphere Liz so desires. Where this movie is from the point of view of a white woman, all other non-white characters are Othered, reduced, and homogenized for her consumption and personal fulfillment.

Text Review of X Men

They are born with a genetic mutation that makes them different from the ‘average’ person, and they are hated and feared by everyone because of their differences. All of them are known as the minority, which leads to them facing social injustices. Being called the “mutants” because they are different brings on the fact that they are seen as an “other” to society because they don’t fit in with how everyone else is. They are also treated as an ‘other’ because they aren’t in a position of power even with the abilities; they are an anomaly. They fight to protect the same people that don’t want anything to do with them.

The theme of racial injustice is the most prevalent social issues intertwined in the X-Men series and can be seen in the range of mutant powers, and mutant discrimination.  The film’s purpose is to give the importance of the need to fight for peace and equality among people, and it is shown by showing the hardships of what is known to be the minority race. The film deals with a few critical components of  American history, one being the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. In class, we read King’s Letter from Birmingham, which talked about how people need to take action against the unjust laws and discrimination and not wait to have justice play in your plate.

I think the film X-Men did successfully inspire a conversation around power and injustice. The film displays who is known to be the “other” and the people that are in control. The film is based during a time of systematic persecution, which at the time many African Americans were going through. I feel Stan Lee wants us to know that racism should never be okay, and if you see something happening, you should call it out. I think he wants people to ask themself; what you would do if it were you in the same predicament?




References: “How Stan Lee’s X-Men Were Inspired by Real-Life Civil Rights Heroes.”, A&E Television Networks,

“The Racial Politics of X-Men.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 5 June 2011,