Cuties is a French movie – written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré. The Parisan film stars Fathia Youssouf, Médina El Aidi-Azouni, Esther Gohourou, Ilanah Cami-Goursolas and Maïmouna Gueye. Amy, played by Fathia Youssouf, is a Senegalese-French girl that is raised with a traditional upbringing in her Muslim faith. It is not until her character meets Angelica, a saucy young dancer played by Médina El Aidi-Azouni, that she starts to rebel from her traditional Muslim values.
Eventually the duo become friends and Amy is introduced to Angelica’s dance troupe called the Cuties – Esther Gohourou, Ilanah Cami-Goursolas and Maïmouna Gueye. The director explained that the film was to highlight the hyper-sexualization of young girls. This film has won an award at the Sundance Film Festival for Directing and was also screened there.
Netflix marketed this film to be very overtly sexual and with a TV-MA rating in a movie starring kids, I was very worried. The first thing I was most concerned about was child exploitation and lack of protection for our children in today’s society. I have an immensely strong belief that children should be shielded from the dark realities in our society with *MAPs.
When I first started watching the movie, I was confused on the controversy of it – I didn’t understand why everyone was so angry about it. From what I saw in the first 30-minutes of the movie, Amy was just trying to realize life outside of her orthodox lifestyle. Then I started really getting into the movie – within the first hour I was appalled! I couldn’t believe how oversexualized these girls were – they were dancing provocatively, dressing with their midsections out and slapping each other on the behind – they were twerking and dry humping the floor- things that I would feel risqué doing even at 27 years-old.
The two most disturbing scenes for me were when the Sweeties, the rival dance group to the Cuties, pull down Amy’s pants to expose her undergarments and embarrass her. The second scene that bothered me was when they broke into the laser tag arena- they start gyrating their derrières to demonstrate how they dance in the Cuties and the manager started to stare at them inappropriately. For both scenes I was shocked, my mouth dropped open from how stunned I was – just utterly disgusting.
The final scene was the girls at the dance competition – their outfits were skimpy, they were dancing very suggestively and all-in-all THIS WAS CHILD EXPLOITATION! These children were not adults hired to play children – they are preadolescent girls in reality.
If I were to give this film a 1 out of 10, with 10 being the highest – I would give it a 1. I do think the storyline (without the dancing), held up decently well. I felt like I was watching two different movies at one point due to the deviation in plot – one minute Amy’s dad is traditionally taking another wife as permitted in their Senegalese culture and the next minute these girls are being exploited. I really wish I could unsee this movie, however, I urge anyone to stray away from it. I will never watch this film again, this is wrong and I believe that it is a disgrace. Although, it did do the director’s intended purpose, it was done in an improper fashion. I think that the director’s intentions were good, but her execution was wrong. I felt uncomfortable watching this movie and I truly think this should not be on a platform like Netflix.
*Minor Attracted Person