… Y’all. It’s absolutely a GAS.
The first thing that seems to be tripping everyone up is the classification of the OS Domain. It’s not Psychology/Manipulation, it’s Physics/Activity.
Yes, the Kim family “manipulates” their way into the home of the rich household during the first half of the film, but look at all the things they DO in order to make that happen: faking documents, planting evidence, collecting information on the family/staff, framing the original housekeeper by triggering her allergic reaction to peaches, all for the sake of what? Obtaining work.
To reiterate, the Story Goal is Obtaining. Granted, what exactly it is they’re trying to obtain morphs a bit over the course of the narrative; it’s not until the midpoint that the full scope of that goal comes into focus during the conversation the Kim family have while the Park family are away camping. The key lines:
Son: “If this became our house …”
Father: “This is our home right now.”
In short: OS Goal: Obtaining the Park’s house as their own.
The second thing that seems to be causing trouble is the classification of the MC. It’s not the son (Ki-woo). It’s the father (Ki-taek). Think about all those lingering shots of the father’s face, or how he is almost always framed in the center of the composition. Notice how often we look at him up close and head on, as opposed to the son (or any of the other characters) whose faces we nearly always see at an angle, in profile, or from a distance. It’s subtle but pervasive: the father’s POV is the anchor point around which the story turns.
Father is the MC in the domain of Mind/Fixed Attitude. His relation to the problem is defined by his mindset. He rolls with the punches, never rising to the bait. What he desires most throughout the film, and what he keeps seeking is emotional connection (subconscious). In doing so, he keeps “crossing the line” emotionally with Mr Park, who does not respect him as an equal and all but refuses to acknowledge Ki-taek’s humanity. It is only when his psychological limit is reached by one final indignity (Mr. Park’s wrinkled nose at Ki-taek’s “smell”) that Ki-taek lashes out and kills Mr. Park.
Son is the IC in Universe/Situation. He is defined primarily by his Rich Girl/Poor Boy style love affair with the Park family’s daughter, Da-hye. This might lead one to suspect that he is in Mind, and that his concern is Subconscious, i.e. the romantic relationship itself. But if you pay attention, nearly every line out of Ki-woo’s mouth relates to the way things are going to be someday. He’s going to go to college someday. He’s going to earn a lot of money someday. The stone he clings to is a “Scholar’s rock–” symbolizing his goal of someday attending university. In other words, he’s concerned with The Future.
Consider his last scene with Da-hye near the end of the movie, when he asks her: “do I fit in here?” (Domain: Universe).
Lastly, the RS Throughline concerns the relationship between father and son, who keep coming back to the topic of what? Developing a plan. (Domain: Psychology/Manipulation).
From the beginning of the film:
Ki-woo: Dad. Don’t think of this as forgery or crime. I’ll go to this university next year.
Ki-Taek: So you’ve got a plan!
Ki-woo: I just printed out the document a bit early.
From later on, after their house has been flooded and they’re sleeping in a gymnasium.
Ki-woo: “What was your plan?”
Ki-taek: “What kind of plan never fails? No plan. That’s why people shouldn’t make plans.”
From the end of the film:
Ki-woo: “Dad, today I made a plan.”
And what is the essence of his plan-- the one his father now has no choice but to place all his hopes in? For Ki-woo to become rich so the house his father has already Obtained can truly Become their family’s home.
So in the end, what to we have?
That’s how I see it anyway.