The Netflix release Cuties is dull and morally indefensible, an appalling act of sexual exploitation of young girls. Actually, as you’ll read below, it’s even worse than that.
You can’t judge a movie by its content. It’s not about content. It’s about what the movie has to say about the content.
The Bible’s a good example. I’m no scholar but I’ve always assumed Herod’s stepdaughter, Salome, was underage. Maybe not 11. Closer to 14. I’m not alone. So it’s right there in the Bible. In the New Testament, no less. Young girl dancing sexy. Is that child porn? Are the movies that depict what’s now known as the Dance of the Seven Veils child porn? Course not. The dance is portrayed as obscene, as a sin so dark you can hardly believe you’re a member of the same species.
Salome’s mother sells her daughter’s sex to her own husband. Herod lusts after his own stepdaughter in front of his own wife. Salome is a symbol of innocence violated beyond repair. Motivating all of it, the cold-blooded murder of John the Baptist.
There’s nothing about the moment that is not revolting.
Before we get to Cuties, let me go a bit further…
Bully (2001), Kids (1995), L.I.E. (2001), Thirteen (2003). Tough movies. R-rated movies. What you call hard Rs. All about underage kids doing all sorts of terrible stuff. I will and have defended all four. Again, not about the content. About what the movie says about the content. No one, unless they’re already corrupted, walks away from those four movies thinking any of that is okay. All you want to do afterward is take a shower.
That’s why, initially, sight unseen, I defended Cuties. I did not defend Netflix’s appalling ad campaign, which was aimed directly at the naked-guys-in-a-raincoat-named Floyd crowd. For whatever reason, Netflix is big on sexually exploiting children. Barack and Michelle Obama and Susan Rice are getting rich(er) off all those Floyds.
Okay, I didn’t exactly “defend” Cuties. Gave it the benefit of the doubt. For all the reasons mentioned above.
Now I’ve seen it and can’t defend it.
Cuties is soft-core child pornography disguised as art. Nothing less. Nothing more.
Cuties does not tell Naked Floyd to be ashamed of himself. Naked Floyd’s going to love Cuties. That’s a problem. A big problem.
Cuties does not tell 11-year-old girls that twerking and sexualization sets you on a path of self-debasement, that it destroys your self-respect and the respect others might have for you — especially in the age of the Internet. That’s a bigger problem.
For our protagonist, 11-year-old Ami, twerking is the path to enlightenment and personal growth.
The movie’s director, Maïmouna Doucouré, says the film is a critique of the sexualization of children, specifically the Internet’s role in it.
The far-left fake news outlet, the New Yorker, accidentally told the truth about Cuties. But because the truth was off-message, the New Yorker deleted the tweet.
“Cuties, which has angered scandal-mongers on the right, is the story of a girl’s outrage at, and defiance of, a patriarchal order,” the New Yorker tweeted accurately.
Yep, that’s precisely what Cuties is.
Where the New Yorker screwed up, though, was in saying so out loud.
Hey, if we’re going to protect Barack Obama and Susan Rice, what we’re supposed to say is that Cuties is a damning indictment of the sexualization of children. What we are not supposed to say is that the children in Cuties are sexualized to stick it to The Man. So the New Yorker deleted the tweet and the truth.
Fact: Cuties is not an indictment of the sexualization of children. Cuties sexualizes children, and not in some baby-doll Jon Benet way.
Naked Floyd holds the camera, and Naked Floyd can never get enough of prepubescent butts in tight jeans and short-shorts. Countless close-up of 11-year-old butts in tight pants. Bending, shaking, dry-humping. You won’t believe it.
What’s ironic is that if the girls were of age, Cuties’ defenders would be outraged over these close-ups, outraged over the camera’s “male gaze.”
But since Cuties is telling 11-year-old girls the path to enlightenment and growth is through humping the floor in a pair of Daisy Dukes, the “male gaze” is okay.
You see, corrupting little girls is woke, while guys enjoying a gander at a woman of legal age is the hideous patriarchy at work. Those are the rules now.
Believe it or not, Naked Floyd also digs crotch shots. No shit, 11-year-old characters in short-shorts and bikini bottoms, legs wide open punctuated with a come-hither look. Not one crotch shot. Not two. Not five. Lost count after five. Still can’t believe it.
Ami’s fighting the patriarchy, you see. Her hideous Muslim father has taken a second wife and he’s bringing her home to share a bed with Ami’s mom. Ami’s mom pretends to be okay with it. Ami’s Great Aunt orders everyone to accept tradition. The old biddy even makes Ami cook the wedding feast. Poor little girl cuts a big pile of onions. In case you miss the symbolism, there are tears. Lots of tears.
Even her bratty little brother oppresses Ami.
Ami’s oppressed mom drags poor Ami to a Muslim school that teaches women how to be obedient to their husbands, to men in general.
When Sex and the City 2 criticized Islam’s oppression of women, the same critical class gushing over Cuties blasted Sex and the City 2 as Islamophobic. But Carrie and Miranda and Charlotte and Samantha are of age, so that’s the moral difference.
How bent is Cuties?
Well, after Ami strips naked, spreads her legs wide, takes a photo, and publishes it on social media (thankfully we see nothing graphic), she’s slut-shamed. In case you don’t get the point, some bratty little boy actually calls her a “slut” — like three times.
In the end, Ami decides to stop twerking. Has a bit of a breakdown. Felt contrived. Like the movie figured it had better pull out of the child exploitation gutter at the very end. Look! Now it’s art!
Doesn’t matter, because at the end, thanks to all the sex stuff, all the butt-shaking and crotch shots, Ami is liberated, independent, and better off.
Twerking saved her from the patriarchy.
So this isn’t Salome dancing for Herod. This is a movie that says twerking at age 11 is the path to growth, to enlightenment, to liberation. This is also a movie that says you can walk away from it clean, even after publishing naked photos of yourself. It’s all good, ladies.
And that’s indefensible.
The movie’s biggest moral flaw is that it refuses to provide Ami an alternative between doormat and twerker.
The movie’s not set in some third-world hellhole. Ami lives in Paris — as in Paris, France. You’re trying to tell me a female teacher or lawyer or small business-owner couldn’t represent a third way?
Other than being extremely uncomfortable to watch, Cuties is dull. A loooong 94 minutes. There’s just not enough plot, and the characters, especially the four central girls, aren’t all that interesting.
I need a shower.