Tessa Thompson, Who Has Seen Cuties, Defends Netflix Movie After Backlash

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok
(Image credit: (Marvel))

It’s always exciting when Netflix rolls out its list of new releases for the upcoming month for subscribers to browse through and add more titles to their queues. When September’s list of movies and television shows became available however, controversy quickly ignited over the French film Cuties (or Mignonnes), when people became offended by its perceived over-sexualization of young girls from a poster.

Marvel actress Tessa Thompson watched the movie at Sundance Film Festival and is being vocal about the failure of the marketing team to present it accurately. In her words:

As Tessa Thompson posted on Twitter, she’s seen Cuties and agrees with critics' praise – the film received an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes and a few awards. Cuties was written by a French Senegalese Black woman named Maïmouna Doucouré about her own experiences, and it was so beautiful that it “gutted” the Creed actress. Although she understands the response to Netflix’s marketing of the film, she’s “disappointed” that it may not be getting its due because of this.

Cuties has inspired a Change.org petition with nearly 200,000 signatures calling to remove the film from the streaming service. In response to the outcry, Netflix changed up the movie’s poster, tagline and upped its rating to mature instead of 16+ and issued this statement:

We're deeply sorry for the inappropriate artwork that we used for Mignonnes/Cuties. 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.

It should be noted that the poster used by Netflix was not the same image on Cuties’ original marketing at Sundance. Instead of featuring the 11-year-old girls dancing playfully in the distance, Netflix’s version has the dance team striking poses that could be seen as suggestive. Check out the two images below:

Cuties centers on Amy, a young girl who becomes fascinated with a dance crew called the “cuties” and joins them, despite the restraint it places on her conservative family. You can check out the trailer for the film here:

Amidst the controversy, Tessa Thompson does bring up an interesting point about backlash. In the actress’ opinion as a Cuties viewer, she did not feel like the movie promoted over-sexualization of girls, but does take the opportunity to comment on it. It sounds like the marketing team did not understand the content and made the wrong move. She finished off her point by sharing a photo from the film that is more representative of the material:

The Photograph director Stella Meghie also chimed into the Cuties conversation by defending Maïmouna Doucouré, who has since deleted her Twitter after allegedly receiving threats regarding her first feature film that most of the world has yet to see. In Meghie’s words:

Cuties will come to Netflix on September 9, along with new titles including Enola Holmes and The Devil All The Time.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.