Thursday, March 3, 2016

Review:// You're My Pet

You're My Pet is the Korean adaptation of Yayaoi Ogawa's manga, Kimi wa Pet. Ji Eun Yi (Kim Ha Neul) is a smart, attractive career woman who can't seem to sustain a successful relationship. Kang In Ho (Jang Geun Suk) is a dance prodigy, who gave up ballet after an accident with another dancer left him unable to work with a partner again. The two meet and settle into a master/pet relationship that is strangely satisfying for them both. However, when Eun Yi's old crush comes back into town, change is inevitable.

The Good:  The light-hearted approach to the manga makes this a feel-good movie where you can just enjoy all the cuteness without too much heartache. Jang Geun Suk is naughty, adorable and sexy.  Kim Ha Neul balances seriousness and comedy perfectly, and together they have great chemistry.

The Bad:  All the dance choreography in the film is excruciatingly horrible. It really took me out of the story every time I had to look at it. I was also disappointed that In Ho wasn't developed more. The reasons why he needed to be dehumanized, and why he found fulfillment in being a pet were pretty much left out of this version of the story. Granted, the 2003 Japanese drama (Kimi wa Pet) starring Matsumoto Jun and Koyuki had ten hours to flesh out the plot, but there was more than enough time in the movie to depict the enormous pressure and expectation that In Ho had been subjected to. Instead, much of the story's impact was lost.

Many viewers commented on the master/pet relationship being sick or abusive, some mentioning that if the genders were reversed, everyone would be of this opinion. The fact is, this story can only exist because Eun Yi is a woman and In Ho is a man.  Eun Yi is a professional woman in a male dominated Asian workforce, and as such is alienated and stunted in her career. She's also a strong, attractive woman in a male dominated society, and that intimidates men on a social level. She craves control in a world where she feels out of control no matter how qualified she is, or how much effort she puts into it. Over time, her protective shell becomes impenetrable, so it stands to reason that the only man who can get past it, is one who is not a man, but a pet who she can let her guard down around.

In Ho is a dance prodigy, so you can imagine his life was full of pressure. When he walked away from his career, there was disappointment and continued expectations. To give up control and live as someone else's pet was a big relief for him.

This is a story about two dysfunctional people who started out using each other as a crutch, but who grew stronger as their relationship evolved.

Although the Japanese drama was more true in mood and story to the manga with the exception of the end, which was not very satisfying (the drama was produced in 2003 before the end of the manga in 2005), the Korean movie did capture the spirit of the manga and concluded in a better way which was more in line with the manga's actual ending. Though the story is not as deep or impactful, You're My Pet is worth watching.

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