I really try to avoid hating on things, but with #CancelNetflix and Cuties trending like mad around this film and after seeing in more detail why, I really need to say something. Here is my response to #CancelNetflix and Cuties.
Mature written content warning
Foreign film Cuties stirred a lot of controversy on original screening and even moreso when Netflix released a poster seen to be hyper sexualising children. After a brave reviewer shared a 90 second clip from the movie this morning, I’ve gotta say…
The old poster is really tame in comparison, and the true problem with that controversial poster is this: it’s actually from the movie. I was wondering how a marketing department could misrepresent something in such great detail, and now I see that the image was missing the true extent of the gratuitous depiction of young children that’s actually on display. If they used another shot you may have thought you just saw a child’s genitals by accident.
I realise from reviews and plot details that the point of this movie is to make a comment about children growing up too fast. Unfortunately it seems to do this while literally making children grow up too fast. The dances I saw this morning made me throw up in my mouth, especially realising the characters and actors are 11 years old.
The film seems to have the same strange treatment as most explicit depictions of sexual extremes in cinema – put it on a porn site and it would be called pornography (or illegal in this case), but put it in a film and it’s called groundbreaking and “challenging”.
The movie is actually the problem it’s trying to talk about. Because while I’m sure in the story it’s about a girl growing up due to very real influences and how society profits by sexualising children, the camera angles and content are way more than uncalled for, including dance moves you would see on X-rated sites done by adult performers, an 11 year old photographing and posting her sensitive parts, a young child watching a stripper to learn the moves whilst a family prayer is underway, and offers of sexual favours being made by a child.
Oh yeah, all the while the movie is making a ton of money and profiting from the sexualisation of children itself. One quote I really like puts it this way – you aren’t in traffic, you are traffic.
It would be like a movie coming out and saying “How awful is it that these terrorists make home made bombs and blow up people’s houses” whilst the movie shows in detail how to make home made bombs. They’re right, it’s awful, but you shouldn’t be showing the audience how to do it.
Or sitting through Super Size Me for the tenth time with the biggest unhealthy meal from McDonalds you could ever order and saying “Yeah how awful is this!”.
I don’t understand how our world can sympathise with #MeToo but also then say that sexy dances with zoomed in crotch and rear shots while they twerk with undies on is nothing more than controversial.
ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN
I’m not sure about #CancelNetflix, but I think at the very least we need to pick what we watch. To be honest, Netflix has other content besides this that can really cause damage to one’s sexuality. We are living in a world where porn has become mainstream, and we have become absolutely okay with it for some reason. Maybe because the actors are better now?
I have no idea how so many reviewers can reflect on this movie positively. To be honest I think it should call one’s credentials into question.
Sexual desire isn’t discovered – it is framed and grows along the lines of what it is fed. And if our world keeps filling itself with detailed images and extended descriptions of underage sexuality and continued sexual violence in cinema, guess what our men are going to continue to be like? More in Men and Rape Culture, Addressing the Sexual Elephant In The Room, and What Porn Teaches Us About Men.
As a man and a married man at that, I can tell you I would not go near this movie at all. In fact I made it 20 seconds into the clip and felt absolutely sick. The director may have had a different intent, but no matter how progressive our society becomes, the male mind is still photographic, and our sex drive driven visually. This is the point the young Amy seems to be discovering in this movie, but the reality of how it’s been depicted is that the film is provoking a potentially dangerous response in its audience.
I remember the old movie Stand By Me about four young boys who tackled a number of the issues the plot of this film seems to tackle as well. But like this old classic and many others like it, you can do this without showing in graphic detail for an extended period what is being complained about.
Cuties and #CancelNetflix – best summarised in one word. RUN.