Cuties review

Controversial and disturbing in its honesty, “Cuties” brings attention to the sexualization of young girls

Cuties review

“Cuties” is a movie by French director Maïmouna Doucouré that was recently released on Netflix in the US after coming out in France about a year ago. Upon the US release, “Cuties” was met with backlash—critics and movie fanatics condemned the film for oversexualizing the young actresses in the movie. While I found the film uncomfortable and slightly disturbing to watch, bringing the hypersexualization of young girls in modern society to light by showing audiences what that looks like was entirely the point of the film, and the discomfort viewers felt the need to voice is the kind of talk the director wanted to bring up. 

According to Doucouré, “Cuties” was intended to bring awareness to the fight against child hypersexualization, which is defined as media depicting girls as sexual objects and encouraging other girls to act in adult ways. Doucouré


claims the only way to get people to talk about it was to just show it. And clearly, the topic has already gotten a lot of attention thanks to this movie. However, many American critics claimed the movie was participating in this sexualization by having the actresses dance the way they did in the movie. A lot of these critics, however, seem to forget these actresses agreed to be in the movie, and therefore agreed to dance provocatively for the sake of spreading awareness. 

While the dances seen in “Cuties” were an extreme portrayal of what some young girls are pushed into doing, very similar instances are still happening. Dance is a great example, as young girls have to dress in skin-tight costumes and wear heavy makeup. Not to mention clothing stores, social media, movies and TV shows giving girls age-inappropriate expectations. As much as many adults don’t want to admit it, this over-sexualization is happening all the time.  

Critics were also concerned that “Cuties” would lead to a rise in pedophiles—that some adults would somehow be inspired by the film to go out and do more terrible things to children. However, I don’t really think pedophiles work like that: They’re going to do what they want to do when they want to do it, regardless of some Netflix movie. 

A lot of this backlash was spurred by people who probably didn’t even watch the movie, but saw the inappropriate poster and description Netflix put up for it. It’s not unlike Americans to foster an opinion on a topic they have failed to research properly. The poster completely misrepresented the film making it look like a middle school girl Magic Mike, but Netflix has since taken it down and issued an apology. Another thing to consider is that even after being released for a year, “Cuties” didn’t get this criticism until it reached the US. I would say this is because the US is considered to be more conservative than countries like France. French people may be more willing to get past the provocative scenes and understand the greater message than Americans. 

“Cuties” is a realistic portrayal of the confusion of adolescence specific to preteen girls, a story that is not often told. The girls in the movie are clearly stuck between wanting to grow up, yet still acting so immature. They don´t understand the implications of being sexual because their parents are so disconnected from their lives. The main character, Amy, gets stuck in the typical desire to fit in, so she degrades herself to do so because she doesn’t have the confidence or maturity to know otherwise. People who watch this movie need to feel the discomfort and think about it, rather than judge it.