Nothing Cute about “Cuties!” 2020 just got worse.
On September 9, 2020 Netflix released a French film called “Cuties,” written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré. Since its release both Netflix and the film have been facing backlash. The story is about an 11 year old girl named Amy who finds herself at a crossroads with her Muslim culture and the Western culture. The director wanted to expose the objectification of women and the hyper-sexualization of little girls in this modern, social media influenced era. Sounds like a good movie right? Then, why is everyone furious?
Well, you see a movie can have a good message and intent behind it, like anything else in life, but if delivered poorly it can lose all merit. Especially, when those messages/intentions involve innocent children. Doucouré in a panel discussion with UniFrance on Monday said “We have the same fight. We have to protect our children.” And that the controversy around the movie started “with the artwork” referring to the repulsive poster, for which Netflix apologized for.
Doucouré and Netflix agreed that the suggestive poster with the 11 year old girls in provactive outfits was to be blamed for the uproar of #CancelNetflix. Even though the picture displayed on the poster is from the movie itself. Both parties concur that the poster is inappropriate and sexualizes the girls, nonetheless they defend the movie saying it is “a social commentary against the sexualization of young children.” Explain to me how a poster is considered “inappropriate,” and happens to be removed, but the dance number in which these little girls are twerking, grabbing each other’s behinds, and humping the ground remains a part of the movie? If the poster is deemed “inappropriate” shouldn’t the movie scene where these little girls are dancing like strippers also be addressed and removed?
The poster, as eerie as it is, still isn’t the most uncomfortable and shocking thing about the movie. Oh no, the movie goes from being disturbing to “child pornography,” as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz mentioned, real quick. There are scenes throughout the movie that make you cringe and feel dirty. These scenes are completely unnecessary, and are a pedophile’s dream come true. They make these 11 year old girls seem overtly sexual. Presenting them not as victims but as perpetrators. Read for yourself:
- In one scene “The Cuties” tell Amy to go film a boy peeing in the bathroom so they can all see his private parts.
- There’s a scene where the girls are talking to a guy online trying to get him to send them a pic of his private parts by asking him if he’d like to see some “breasts”
- In another scene the girls find a condom and one of the 11 year olds blows it up with her mouth.
- One scene shows Amy being bullied and having her pants pulled down and the long scene is entirely of her in underwear and showing her body.
- A different scene shows Amy taking her dad’s phone to take a picture of her private area to post online.
- In the last dance scene (the one with twerking, humping, etc.) there’s at least 2 minutes worth of close-up shots zooming in on the little girl’s crotches and behinds.
The amount of sexual tension in this movie is quite revolting. Especially since the director of this movie had these 11 year olds do the very thing she wants to prevent from happening to little girls. Doucouré exploited these girls to raise awareness about child sexual exploitation. There was no need to showcase how little girls are being sexualized and objectified, that’s an issue that needs no visual perception. Movies like Spotlight and Precious both deal with child sexual abuse, yet none of them have an actual child being abused onscreen to get that point across. A talented director can raise awareness of important issues like child abuse without causing any harm to children, mentally or physically. Doucouré shared, “We also worked with a child psychologist throughout the filming. She’s still working with the children.” That’s the equivalent of working with a violent director who justifies his/her actions by saying there’s a doctor on set for the wounded actors. I mean how stupid is that?
In any case the whole movie is a contradiction to what it claims to be. The movie is rated TV-MA, which means that anyone under 18 cannot watch it. Regardless, of your stance on the movie I’d like to convey that the little girls in “Cuties” aren’t even old enough to watch the movie that they are featured in. They are in a movie that is considered an adult subject, for the entertainment of adults. If that doesn’t speak volumes at the issues at hand, I suggest getting a hearing aid.
The parents of these girls, the director, Sundance, Netflix, and any one else affiliated to this monstrosity of a film should be held responsible and criminally charged. Put aside your personal opinions and political views and join forces together for the sake of humanity, let’s save and really protect our children. Movies like these do not in any way contribute to society, they only pave the way to child sex trafficking. Raise your voice and defend the children that are being exploited and targeted.