Saturday, September 12, 2020

Thoughts on Netflix's CUTIES (2020) and the controversy surrounding it

 I'm not going to do a long piece on CUTIES.  I really don't have it in me to really write it up. However  there is a couple of things I want to say, not that my words will mean anything, but I think it's a subject that needs to be discussed.

I'm guessing almost all of you have no real idea what the film is about, since the film is being talked about for it's "hypersexualized" images and not the plot or the details concerning it. To that end I am going to begin with a brief mention of the plot:

Amy and 11 year old African Muslim girl living in France s beginning to want to explore things outside her home. When she shes a girl her age dancing suggestively in the laundry room she is intrigued and this awakens her curiosity about the larger world. Attempting to try and explore the wider world she becomes part of a dance troop who do provocative dancing despite being all preteen girls. This causes a clash with he mother when she finds out.

First up this is not porn.  Anyone who is saying that probably hasn't seen the film. If they genuinely watched the film and they still feel that way then they really have no idea what they just watched. Yes, the film pushes the notions of what the sexualization of young girls means because the film is trying to make a point. It is not an erotic film, it is, for much of its running time a deeply troubling exploration of what it means to be a young woman in the world today. If you find it erotic or even think it is then the trouble is with you because this is just disturbing.

Having a niece about the same age as Amy deeply bothered me. I was forced to consider how much of what is in this film she maybe experiencing. It is sat with him me.

At the same time the film  makes clear that what we are seeing is not the way all kids are. We see other children not giving in to the hyersexualization. Some kids are just kids. However the point of the film is to talk about the bad parts

I am not going to discuss how true to life this is, that is entirely out of my wheelhouse. Additionally writer/director Maimouna Doucoure is clearly trying to make a point so she is stacking things in order to make that point...

...and that's the thing here this is a film that is about something. This is a film that is trying to explore the way we hypersexualize young girls and in order to explore that we need to see it. It is really damn troubling to do so because as you watch the film you realize how much of of popular culture, music and TV is doing this. Yes it's not to the extreme of some of the dances here...on the other hand how many videos have you seen of young kids copying racy videos and thought they were cute...

This stuff is out there and CUTIES is pointing that out. And I'm guessing that parents don't want to see that or realize what they thought was harmless probably isn't.

I  think that the film is running into problems because the film has several things going against it. First it is in French which makes it an easy target. Many Americans don't like films that are not in English on the face of it so they will dismiss it. It's easier to attack it because it's not from here.

Secondly I know the fact the lead character is a Black Muslim got under some people's skin. 

Third people are getting upset because Twitter or Facebook or a friend told them it was horrible. The question is did any of these people actually watch the film? I doubt it. Or if they did they jumped straight to the offending parts (I wonder if Netflix has stats on how many people jumped straight to the alleged sexy parts) If they actually watched the film, I mean really watched the film with an open mind they wouldn't find it sexy. The images and sequences when taken as a whole are more disturbing then as isolated bits. A fleeting shot of whatever is not going to corrupt anyone in the context of the film. (and with all the crap on the internet you're going after this film?)

This is a very mature look at a real serious problem that is out there. It is a tough subject that any rational adult, and any parent really needs to consider.

That said the question becomes how is the film as a film?

It's just okay.

Yes as a polemic it is a deeply thoughtful and seriously considered film, but as a film itself it is just okay. The problem is you can feel director Doucoure moving things around. You can feel her moving things in order to make her point. Yes she makes that point but the result is a film you'll like more than you love.

Quite honestly this is a film that is only getting attention because some people are being told to yell and scream about it. In all honesty if people weren't upset I wouldn't have watched it.

Should you watch it? That's your choice. I'm not going to say either way. However I will say that if you really want to make an informed decision on what the film is watch the movie- that was why I did.

Honestly if this wasn't being shouted about it would have disappeared almost as fast as it appeared on Netflix. 

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