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Love and Leashes (Movie Review) -- What is a Pervert?

I loved what this movie addressed, how it addressed, and why it addressed. It is bold and to the point, without being vulgar. More importantly, it cleverly and positively manages the stigma and shame associated with non-traditional practices, and the risk it poses to practitioners who wish to disclose their interest in a closed and judgmental society. In way it almost seemed like an educational movement that wanted to frame the practice of bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism (BDSM) as a healthy aspect of the human experience.

What I appreciated most about this movie is how it smoothly and emotionally drew me, particularly in how the two leads interpreted and approached the complexity of the practice in the non-dating situation, where they both try to balance their desire for appropriateness with the desire for connection and honesty. I liked the writer's approach of humor in handling such a serious and complicated issue. It especially worked well in some of the more sensitive moments of the movie. Great writing, directing, editing and storytelling.

As for the actors, I have to say this movie would not be the same without Seo Hyun as Jung Ji Woo, the novice Dom/master, and Lee Jun Young as Jung Ji Hoo, the overly excited sub, particularly Lee Jun Young, a thousand and one kudos for his brilliant, brilliant acting — everything from his facial and bodily expressions and how he uses his eyes, and practically all his senses. I was totally and completely drawn to him from the minute he gets on screen. I was reminded why I fell for him in the drama Avengers Social Club.

I commend them both for taking on such bold roles and giving it their all. They were both fantastic in how they interpreted their individual characters and in their chemistry together on screen. They made a life-long fan out of me. As much as the drama was centered on our leads, I tip my hat off to Baek Hyun Joo as Ji Woo's very progressive mother. I loved her character and mother, and Lee El as a friend and kindred spirit. A job well done on both fronts.

There are a few reasons why I commend this drama, firstly for the steps it takes, both as an awareness campaign, but also to de-stigmatize the negative connotations around the BDSM, and the people who practice it. And more that it's a practice that is safe, sane, and consensual between two parties. Active partners enthusiastically consenting to those acts. Secondly, for the message it sends to the many who feel they don't belong or think they've done something wrong because of their non-traditional practices. It lets them know loud and clear that they are not alone. They didn't do anything wrong, and being different doesn't mean they are bad, so what if people call them perverts?

Come to think of it, what’s wrong with being a pervert; come to think of it, what is a pervert? A pervert is defined as “a person with unusual or abnormal sexual tastes.” But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve done anything wrong. Someone with a shoe or hand-fetish can be seen as a pervert. It doesn’t make them evil, just different. Using the term pervert as a form of abuse and shaming is unacceptable. Therefore, I like the awareness the movie brings of the deplorable examples of people who discriminate against those who are different for simply being different or unconventional, while assuring them that they are not alone. We must be the change we want, a moral responsibility to discourage the shaming of others for their difference, and to challenge prejudice and discrimination. Watch the movie here.


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