Backlash on Netflix movie, “Cuties”

The Cuties: Amy, Coumba, Angelica, Jess (Source:

By Keedy Tique, Staff Writer

Back in late September, the television series Cuties started streaming on Netflix. Cuties is a French film about a lonely, 11-year-old Senegalese girl, Amy, who appears to be having family issues.

Amy and her family reside in an apartment in Paris. They wait for her father to come back from Senegal but soon find out he is bringing a second wife. Amy’s mother is torn apart.  Her family has many religious expectations for Amy, but instead she does the complete opposite.          For example, Amy tries to offer her body to her own family member. She loses her friends many times and also runs away from her home. Amy wanted acceptance from others.

She then joins a friend group, the Cuties, which is trying out for a dance competition, where girls compete for a prize. Things eventually start going downhill. Amy starts her first menstrual cycle and is stuck with her aunt preparing to “become a woman”. Her friends kick her out of the group for not showing up to the tryouts. Amy was dealing with many emotions when she decides to betray her family and run away from home.

The film is very controversial and difficult to watch. Throughout the movie, there are scenes showing the pre-teen girls performing their dance. They twerk on grown men while they allow it to occur. Their naked body parts and buttocks are zoomed into. In the crowd, some are seen excited seeing them dance while others don’t seem content.

After many Netflix users viewed the movie, they decided to ‘cancel’ Netflix or boycott it. Others chose to voice their opinions on a variety of social media platforms. A user on twitter (@Ashton_g_love) tweeted, “Netflix, I understand you wanted to show female empowerment. This was not the way to do it.”

Royce Vasquez, a student at MHS, said, “It’s very weird and disgusting to watch and it shouldn’t be on Netflix. It’s very close to pedophilia.”

Although there was a great percentage of users that cancelled their subscriptions, it wasn’t enough to affect Netflix as a whole. According to the article titled “Ted Sarandos on Netflix’s Global Growth, ‘Cuties’ Controversy and Executive Shakeup” posted on the website for Variety, after all the backlash, CEO of Netflix Ted Sarandos said he was surprised and later gave a statement defending the movie. He said it was misunderstood mainly only in the US.

He said, “The film speaks for itself. It’s a very personal coming of age film.  It’s the director’s story and the film has obviously played very well at Sundance without any of this controversy and played in theaters throughout Europe without any of this controversy.”

Some people claim it is a wonderful film of beautiful girls being vulnerable to the world.  However, I see it differently.  I first came across the film when I saw the backlash on Twitter. I decided to see what it was about and why it was controversial. I quickly realized the movie wasn’t morally correct. It felt illegal watching it. It’s pretty disgusting and the way you see the girls change throughout the movie isn’t right.

In the same article from Variety, it was reported that some U.S Senators have sent letters of criticism to Netflix for allowing “lewd visual material depicting a child “, but they are not the only ones. A Texas grand jury is trying to press criminal charges against Netflix.

Regardless of all the negative comments, Cuties is actually an award-winning film in France. The director, Maïmouna Doucouréwho won the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Directing Award, announced that she is proud of her accomplishments. She also said that the film is based on real life experiences.