According to Netflix’s website, Cuties—which is rated TV-MA—is about an 11-year-old named Amy, who “starts to rebel against her conservative family’s traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew.”
The film debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received the world cinema dramatic directing honor. However, it proceeded to receive backlash after it was marketed by Netflix in August. For instance, the company received criticism for a poster and since-deleted description used to promote the film. According to NBC News, critics claimed the movie and marketing materials sexualized the young girls. Netflix later issued an apology.
“We’re deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties,” it stated at the time. “It was not OK, nor was it representative of this French film which won an award at Sundance. We’ve now updated the pictures and description.”
Writer and director Maïmouna Doucouré has also stood by the film. “That’s why I made Cuties: to start a debate about the sexualization of children in society today so that maybe —just maybe— politicians, artists, parents and educators could work together to make a change that will benefit children for generations to come,” she wrote in part of a piece for The Washington Post.