A Review on the Netflix Film "Cuties"

The Netflix film "Cuties" had created controversy before it even released this September on Netflix. Targeted as an adult dance movie where 11-year-olds find their love for twerking raised some red flags for those using Netflix. Cuties is described as a French coming-of-age drama starring 11-year-old girls and their love for dance. The controversy over this movie revolves around the sexualization of children and has many viewers and critics divided. Though I understand this movie's intent and the importance of the directors' view for understanding the coming-of-age and the mirror of our society today, the film itself is inappropriate and unnecessary. Here's why there is a problem. 

The Filming 

camera set up Photo by Aleks Marinkovic from Unsplash Let me start by saying I did not want to watch this movie, but considering the uproar it created, I needed to know what the talk was all about. When I began watching this, I didn't understand what was so bad, and let me tell you shortly after, I understood. The filming in general of this movie makes absolutely no sense. The close-up shots of the main character in her underwear, crotch shots while dancing, and the girls' backsides were out of control. There is no reason to have close-ups of underage girls like that. Yes, the dances were extremely questionable, but the filming took it to the degree that it was uncomfortable and uncalled for. As a pre-teen, many girls begin to experience coming of age and are exposed to new influences and media. Many girls like in the movie, for instance, dance in the mirror or want to look a certain way. However, there is not a reason to film a child twerking, or sticking their finger in their mouth or close-ups of their bodies. 

The Ages 

As we know, the girls in "Cuties" are playing 11-year olds. The actresses that starred in this movie are between the ages of 12 and 14. They have chosen minors to make an entire movie about the sexualization of children. These girls were seen twerking, their legs spread apart, and the main character had a scene where she took a picture of her private parts. Dance can be in many forms, I agree, but the ages of these actresses and their roles were uncomfortable to be seen on a platform such as Netflix. This film's ideas somewhat mirror our society in the digital age, and the dangers young women face no questions. Still, there is a way to portray the risks of our digital age influences without conducting minors to participate in it themselves. Such as something like a documentary of what children go through or a book telling experience, not completely recreating it for everyone to see. Hiring an adult to play these parts or writing a book about it would have made more sense.  

The Movie Itself Was Not Well Thought-Out

social media on phone Georgia de Lotz for Unsplash There were many symbolic moments within this movie, such as our 11-year-old main character being influenced into thinking her looks could get her what she wanted from an older man, the challenging experiences of peer pressure, and the social media and videos children are exposed to today on the internet. However, there was hardly a resolution at the end, and many of the scenes seemed randomly thrown in. For instance, as the main character wanted her phone back, she decided to take a naked picture of her private parts to post on social media. After the other dance members were upset with her, she responded by saying she didn't want people to think they were children. There are so many different ways to portray that message then the extreme way the director took it to. I understand this movie from the director's point of view had good intentions, and I see where the importance is; however, the film could have been powerful itself without the choice of filming these extreme scenes. 

This movie, in my opinion, could have been groundbreaking if portrayed differently. Although there has been an increase in Netflix users watching this movie due to controversy, I found that this movie did more harm than good. Many women know the different obstacles, influences, and pressure in our society, primarily directed at young girls. However, there is a way to show the critique of child exploitation without participating in it.