Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

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By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Poignant drama is candid about tween sexuality; language.

Movie NR 2020 96 minutes
Cuties Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 93 parent reviews

age 18+

Wasn't made for kids, but just as disturbing that it's made for adults...

I have a degree in human rights and am progressive so I watched it hoping all the boycotting was just overblown hysteria based in fear without viewing the film. I really thought the film would have a much needed social message. It doesn't. This film deeply disturbed me on several levels. First, it is NOT meant for a child audience whatsoever. It's supposed to uncomfortably solicit a rebuke of modern society's impact on adolescence and hold a mirror up to society. It doesn't. It just doesn't work, and worse, it would appeal more to pedophiles than people who need their values questioned on raising our kids. Perhaps due to the juxtaposition of a conservative Muslim family as the husband takes on a new wife (which is, in itself, oppressive and anti-feminist) with the gyrating of girls who were - in real life as this was filmed - 14 but one as young as 12, it reeked more of self-righteous perceived morality than it did any kind of social justice-raising piece of art. Its message is supposed to be to society and what we value but the very filming of it breaks the very rules it's pretending to argue against. There are only a few masters of cinematography on earth who could handle a film with the ambitious goals this one had. The director of this film is not one of them. Instead of making a compelling case for an important social issue, they have contributed to making the actors themselves cannon fodder and done harm in making this film. If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, this film is a fire and brimstone highway. The biggest thing that I felt was unnecessary was the scene where Amy, the supposed 11-year-old main character (14 in real life), takes a photo of her genitalia and posts it to social media, becoming a social outcast immediately even in her own adolescent world. The most uncomfortable scenes are of the girls dancing, far more provocatively than 11 year olds in dance or cheer ever actually really dance. I realize the director probably chose exaggeration intentionally but it was too much to ask of the young actors and exploited them in a way that kept making me have to avert my eyes from the screen to avoid their body parts, shots of them up close where you could see gaps in clothing might reveal more of the girls. This is not art. It's obscene. There is nothing this contributes to society. I'm still struggling to understand how the filming of this is even legal. Minors should never be required to perform like this. Unless they used adult body doubles, it is deeply disturbing, and even then - the suggestive imaging in the film will still appeal to pedophiles. Just as important, these girl actors will grow up. And one or more of them may one day realize they were exploited - which is abuse - in the making of this film. I don't leave reviews of films. And normally I don't judge films that are controversial as they often do have a higher message that reaches us due to the controversy. This is not one of those. This film does nothing to further women's rights as the mom stays married to her husband who takes a second wife and the main character has a completely unbelievable "epiphany" in the middle of a public and pedophiliac final dance performance and runs away to become "normal". It isn't believable and it isn't happy. Her mom is still exemplifying how to be oppressed as a woman despite a male religious leader telling her she has a right to leave the husband for taking another wife. And while the film would have you believe the 11-year-old girl has broken free of oppression by walking away from the sexual dancing and embracing her natural hair, she's 11. Her life is and will very much remain under control of the father who only comes home at the end of the movie to marry his new wife. No way this turns out well or is a happy ending. Really bad storyline and zero good lessons to learn from it. It deeply disturbs me to think of what kind of people will watch this film twice.
age 18+


Great for pedophiles, awful and vomit inducing for anyone else.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (93 ):
Kids say (104 ):

Senegalese-French director Maïmouna Doucouré has created an evocative, compassionate portrait of young girls finding their identity and values in this controversial film. In the hands of a less capable director, Cuties could easily have felt exploitative of its child actors, something the film was accused of in an initial (and controversial) marketing campaign in the United States. Doucouré films the girls close up as they move their bodies in a sensual way and strike suggestive poses in halter tops, short-shorts, and excessive makeup. But she offers these scenes precisely in order to shock, because they should be shocking. The public's reaction to the girls' final performance in the film reveals as much.

The subtlety is in the way Doucouré captures the young girls' innocence. Despite their poses, they're not exactly informed about sex. They regularly collapse into piles of giggles. Amy isn't truly trying to provoke; she just wants to fit in. That's where the context comes in: It's set in the multicultural Parisian exurbs, where Doucouré offers intriguing glimpses into the role of women in the Senegalese community. Amy is torn between the traditional values she's being taught at home and the draw of her new friends and culture. This feels both typical and an exceptionally perceptive portrayal of the plight of adolescence and the immigrant experience bundled into one. Some images will stick with you long after this film: Amy's symbolic wedding dress, her father's new bride shrouded in white, the girls' poses, and a beautiful closing scene of Amy bouncing back, literally, into her community and her childhood.

Movie Details

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