Cuties (in French, Mignonnes) tells the story of an 11-year-old Muslim Senegalese immigrant named Amy who moves into a housing project in Paris. While her family encourages her to be modest and obedient, Amy befriends a group of outspoken girls who form a dance troupe in order to gain popularity on social media.
Ever since Netflix announced that it would be streaming “Cuties” across its platforms worldwide, the movie and the streaming platform, both alike, has been hit with criticism and disapproval. This backlash was mostly due to the fact that Netflix’s bad marketing move insinuated that this French-Senegalese movie is sexualizing the image of young girls.
In spite of the bad news and the call to ban this film, I decided to give it a try and check it out personally. and this review will be based solely on my own personal opinion.
First of all, there’s no doubt that director Maïmouna Doucouré’s initial intent was to educate the viewers about this provocative topic but somewhere along the way, it failed to manifest correctly!
The story is, in fact, a juxtaposition between two cultures: the first is extremely pious and oppressive and the second is the complete opposite, it’s a culture of extreme openness and promiscuity. On the outside, these two extremes are totally different but at their core they are the same. Both cultures succeed in exploiting women and shattering their sense of self-worth.
So, you see, this film is not directly exploiting women or young girls. It is, in fact, trying to highlight this social matter in a really provocative manner. Director Doucouré is trying to, uncomfortably, show us how easy it is for young girls to be sexualized either because of the way they dress or act and even because of the things they share on social media, especially in today’s society!
I admit, some scenes were really uncomfortable to watch but that’s only because of the way they were shot and captured. The only wrong thing about this film is that it was shot inappropriately. The camera movements and the angles of some scenes only made things worse.
I personally think the way some aspects about this film were exaggerated also didn’t help in delivering the message correctly!!
But don’t get me wrong, I still believe that this film, despite the backlash and despite the exaggeration, is a learning experience that should be watched!!
Cuties is a heavy film that is dealing with a really heavy, and sometimes off-limits, topic. It was unfortunately the victim of bad marketing. But it is absolutely necessary that we talk about this and break this stigma and raise some awareness. And this is what director Doucouré was trying to do.
The young cast is really talented. Médina Al Aidi-Azouni and Fathia Youssouf were really remarkable!!
At the end of the day, don’t believe everything you read online, especially about this film. I really recommend that you watch it for yourself and make your own judgement!!
Cuties is a 2020 French coming-of-agecomedy-drama film written and directed by French-Senegalese Maïmouna Doucouré in her feature directorial debut. The film stars Fathia Youssouf, Médina El Aidi-Azouni, Esther Gohourou, Ilanah Cami-Goursolas and Maïmouna Gueye. The plot revolves around a French-Senegalese girl with a traditional Muslim upbringing who is caught between traditional values and Internet culture. According to the filmmakers, the film is intended to criticize the hypersexualisation of pre-adolescent girls.