‘Cuties’: Film Review

Variety | 1/9/2020 | Amy Nicholson
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Eleven-year-old Senegalese immigrant Amy (Fathia Youssouf) reckons there are two ways to be a woman. Amy could mimic her mom (Maïmouna Gueye), a dutiful drudge with three kids and a husband who’s just announced he’s bringing home a second wife. Or she could copy the “Cuties,” a quartet of brazen girls who wear tube tops to class, screech “Freedom!” in the hallways, and rehearse their dance crew after school. Either way, the new-in-town 6th grader is ready to select a lane and speed toward maturity.

“Cuties” is an extension of Doucouré’s 2016 César- and Sundance-winning short “Maman(s)”, about an 8-year-old child furious when her polygamous dad invites his new bride into their Parisian apartment. (The two movies share the same powerful shot of the mother weeping when she thinks she’s alone, not realizing her daughter is hidden under the bed and staring at her ankles.) The betrayal — a word Amy and her mother never use, but the emotion Doucouré clearly feels — happened to Doucouré herself, she’s still tapped into her youthful resentment, shame and proto-feminist fury. Amy never explains the root of why she’s acting out, not even when her domineering Aunty attempts to disinfect her soul with a Muslim spiritual ritual. But Doucouré remembers.

Sundance - Film - Festival - Stop - Year

The Sundance Film Festival is the first stop for many of the year's award-winning films. Variety's Matt Donnelly and Daily Variety anchor Audrey Yap give us a primer on what to look forward to at the 2020 festival.

Aging her lead character three years allows the first-time feature director to explore the contradictions of being 11, an age just old enough that you want to be older, yet so young that “older” means pretending to be 14. Amy’s worldly new friends don’t yet know how much they don’t know. Not only does Coumba (Esther Gohourou), the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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