‘Love and Leashes’ is a Korean rom-com that follows two co-workers who enter a purely contractual relationship but soon realize everything is not going according to plan. The film is streaming on Netflix.
Jung Ji-Woo works in the public relations department of a multinational firm. She develops an unexpected attraction to her new coworker Jung Ji-Hoo, who seems to be a well mannered and respectful guy. She accidentally picks up a box addressed to Jung Ji-hoo one day due to their similar names.
She discovers a dog leash inside the box but dismisses it. Ji-hoo, on the other hand, is both embarrassed and shocked that Ji-woo hasn’t informed anybody else about it. Ji-Woo’s suspicions are confirmed later in an open chat when Ji-hoo acknowledges that the dog leash is designed for S&M purposes. As Ji-woo learns more about BDSM, her enthusiasm grows.
Their company hosts an event during which Ji-Woo appears aloof, and Ji-Hoo is devastated, assuming she considers him nasty now that she knows the truth. Ji-Woo, on the other hand, informs him that she was keeping her distance to avoid making him uncomfortable. Ji-Hoo is moved by her nonjudgmental attitude and wants her to be his master.
She initially declines, but after witnessing other girls flirting with him, she becomes envious and decides to give it a shot. They establish ground rules and sign a three-month agreement.
Both Seohyun and Lee Jun-young fully commit to the characters they play even if they are two dimensional at best. Jung Ji-woo and Jung Ji-hoo are ambitious, opinionated and driven towards their goal in the work environment.
Woo is often put down by her seniors solely based on gender biases and Hoo feels pressured to put up a strong front at all times. They enjoy being a different person, unleashing their innermost fantasies and repressed feelings in the D/s relationship.
Seohyun’s performance is fearless and free while Lee portrays his character, who is vulnerable yet strong perfectly.
The movie tries to tackle a taboo topic in a light-hearted way. It seems to be educational and is not unnecessarily sexualised.
The movie barely scratches the topic of BDSM and for the most part, tries to be non-controversial.
In the process of trying to be educational, the movie becomes quite boring and inconsequential. The beginning seems stretched out giving no time for the characters to develop a proper connection and chemistry.
The plot point of characters developing feelings for each other comes out of nowhere, making it feel unnatural and forced.
In the end, all the conflicts are resolved in a very haphazard and unsatisfactory manner.
Even though the movie does the bare minimum it should be appreciated for its attempt at desensitizing this subject.