2.5 out of 5 globes
A film that’s both pushing the discussion of sexualizing women and young girls, and presenting provocative images of children is causing an uproar between American and French audiences.
“Cuties” is a French film that was recently uploaded to the United States’ Netflix on Sept. 9. The generalized description for the film is that an 11-year-old girl joins a dance group to break out of her conservative family’s shell. However, the real meaning of the film is much more controversial.
The main plot of the movie follows Amy as she tries to assume a more mature role in her life. Her father is marrying another woman while still married to her mother. Amy’s mother is upset about the situation but is forced to act like everything is okay because of her religious culture. She has a hatred for her father because of this and uses her new friends as a distraction from her personal life. She wishes to be like the girls in the dance crew who act way more mature than their age. Amy goes to extremes to be like them and help them win the dance competition of their dreams.
The film was made to show the sexualization of women in society and how young girls follow the examples they see online. As one can guess then, the movie shows some not so family-friendly content of these young girls featured in the film.
Throughout the entire movie, the dance crew of 11-year-old girls are dressed in tight, revealing clothes as they see older girls dressed the same way online. There’s also a lot of suggestive dancing throughout the film as the girls try to be like the hip-hop dancers they see in videos. The camera angles don’t help the situation as they tend to focus on just the girls’ bodies with close up angles of their breasts and butt.
This has caused an uproar amongst Americans as they criticize Netflix, threatening to end subscriptions and even Senators are urging Netflix to take it off before they sue them. Interestingly, France praised the movie and preached support for the directors and those involved with it. The two countries stand on the two ends of the spectrum you fall into when watching this movie. But frankly, the pros and cons are equally weighed, which is something most people aren’t seeing.
One of the positives to the movie is that it does tell the story of what most people aren’t paying attention to. Preteen girls follow the actions of those older than them. It’s only after these girls see women dancing half-naked in music videos and pictures on their phones, that they start to integrate that into their own lives. This movie is bringing awareness to that problem. Parents won’t listen when they’re told this, so it really takes a whole controversial movie to get people to notice it. It also shows how quick people are to sexualize girls of all ages. It truly is a good movie for education, but some parts could’ve gotten the same point across in different ways.
The negatives of the movie, however, are that it does feature fuel for pedophiles. This movie can easily be found and accessed by child predators who would treat it like soft porn. It can easily be found by young children too who may use it as an example of what they should look like and do, like the girls in the movie did. There’s literally a part featuring one of the girls and her taking inappropriate pictures that definitely could’ve been done a different way. Just some details to the movie didn’t need to be filmed the way they were, and that makes the movie pretty scarring to watch, especially if you have young girls. The movie is like a trainwreck, you know you shouldn’t be watching it but you can’t look away from the disaster.
The message that “Cuties” gives off probably could’ve been done in a better way. But in the end, it’s a must-watch to understand how our society works in impacting young girls today. It’s honestly a genius piece of work and a truly powerful movie to initiate change in our society. However, the movie can still be hard to watch and some parts are truly alarming. Another problem is that Americans aren’t forward-thinking enough to respect the film and a different culture’s way of telling information. It isn’t what they are used to so it’s shocking to them. Instead of trying to understand, people move to quickly criticize the film and push away what they don’t want to be true. Americans may just have to bury this fear and watch it anyways to hear the important message it has to give.