June 2, 2016

You're My Pet: Dog Is Not Only Man's Best Friend But One Woman's Lover


I am perfectly aware that director Kim Byeong-gon's You're My Pet is packaged as a quirky rom-com in which a lovelorn career woman (Kim Ha-Neul) takes in a failed ballet dancer and somehow ends up finding her soulmate. That is not what I got from the movie, however. Instead, You're My Pet comes across as a lighthearted nightmare, a freaky bit of froth about how role playing — when taken too far — can lead to a psychotic break. Follow me here: An emotionally shut-down editrix tells he brother's pal (Jang Keun-Suk) that he can stay in her apartment rent-free if he pretends he's her dead childhood dog Momo. She gets off by being in control. He relishes her unconditional affection. She also enjoys making him do silly tricks (shake, roll over) and he isn't above feeling her breasts while she's asleep.

Where things get weird is when she begins to hallucinate him as her long-dead Labrador Retreiver in bed or stares into a glass of wine to find his face floating amid vintage red. Another man (Ryu Tae-Joon) — better looking, more succesful, more considerate, more romantic, more mature but not into role play at this level — engages her in prolonged courtship but she's only got puppy dog eyes for her domesticated dream-lover. Not that those two are having sex or kissing or cuddling. Intimacy between beauty and the beast here is restricted to shampooing then blow-drying each other's hair. Always clothed!

The self-delusion may be worse in the submissive than the aggressive one in You're My Pet. Once a rising Danseur Nobel, the collared stray now has taken up playing guitar and lands the lead in a K-Pop recital of Barry Manilow's "Mandy" that takes place simultaneously in an Opera House and in the garden of a fancy estate. Given the skill level of the dancers, neither scenario can possibly be real. Has a case of mass hysteria infected everyone in the audience? My final analysis that is love is a sickness worse than rabies for some.

1 comment:

  1. I came across this movie through Yahoo View. I found it cute, charming, and very sensual (I love me some sappy rom-coms). But, I was amazed by how a mainstream film could be produced, and be pretty kinky.

    The American public is still uncomfortable about the more archetypical S&M in 50 Shades of Grey. In Korea, however, they playfully dance the lines of femdom and furries. Could we have an American rom-com where one person takes in someone on the grounds that they act like a jellicle cat?

    What I'm wondering is how "Mandy" of all pop songs became the recurring musical theme? It's so much more bubble gum than "Love is All Around" (from Love Actually) or "Moon River" (from Breakfast at Tiffany's).