In Parasite, Park Dong-ik, the father of the Park family, only makes remarks about a foul smell when Kim Ki-Taek and Geun-Sae are near him.

I believe Geun-Sae smells because he has been living underground for years.

However, while all of the Kim family live together, Park Dong-ik only notes how the father stinks and not the rest of the Kim family.

The son, Park Da-Song, comments how the Kim family all smell the same with regards to their clothing and detergent.

While Kim Ki-Taek is Park Dong-Ik's personal driver, Dong-Ik only remarks a foul stench deriving from the father of the Kim family even though he meets all of them.

2 Answers 2


Park Dong-ik only notes how the father stinks and not the rest of the Kim family.

Because the smell isn't that strong and Mr. Kim is the only family member that Mr. Park shared a car with.

Mr. Park sits just behind Kim Ki-Taek every single day and the vehicle they're in has a fairly small cabin with no divider between them. When speaking to his wife, Mr. Kim describes Mr. Kim's smell as subtle and slow to notice. From the script --

DONG-IK: Hold on, I know that smell. (sniffs) This is Mr. Kim's smell.
YON-KYO: Mr. Kim? Are you sure? (sniffs) I don’t know what you’re talking about.
DONG-IK: I guess you don’t know. I sit behind him every day so I know the smell.
DONG-IK: It’s not that strong. It’s more like a subtle aroma that seeps into the air -- it just creeps into the backseat and surrounds you.

Since Mr. Park is never so close to any other Kim family members for an extended amount of time, and whenever his is around them they're in open spaces, Mr. Park never detects the smell on the rest of them.

This question assumes that the other Kim family members even have the same smell on their clothes/body to begin with. It's entirely possible that the other family members take different routes or methods of transportation around town, and/or Mr. Kim's clothes are much older than his children's (and therefore have acquired a kind of muskiness over the years).

The only similarity in smell that was mentioned between the Kim family members was when Da-Song noted that Mr. and Mrs. Kim smell the same due to using the same laundry detergent.

  • It's worth pointing out that Ki-Taek drives for Mrs. Park when they go shopping (how he was able to tell her about Moong-Gwang's "tuberculosis"), so he was regularly close to Mrs. Park (also recall the scene where he promises her in the cramped bathroom to not tell Mr. Park about the whole debacle). Mr. Park notices the smell because he's more acutely aware of his economic status, constantly talking about the "line." Mrs. Park only starts noticing Ki-Taek's smell after Mr. Park mentions it to her (and she is impressionable).
    – BatWannaBe
    Mar 24, 2020 at 3:31

The rest of the family do smell

The assumption you make is wrong. There is a critical scene where the male child of the rich family notices the same smell on several of the Kims (the Parks at this point in the movie have no idea that the Kims are all part of the same family).

The moment is significant and the Kims even discuss it as it threatens to expose their scam. They even talk about having to wash and clean their clothes using different laundry material/soap to avoid risking their scheme.

The reason why there is far more comment about Ki-taek (the Kim's father) is that he spends a lot of time in an enclosed space with the Parks (as he drive their car). So they notice the smell more. But they all smell of poverty and the smell is similar enough that it threatens to reveal their family relationship.


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