I took the trouble to watch this movie to see what the fuss was about, and decided that the said fuss was misplaced. But the way the movie gave out its message reminded me of the nasty old story about the farmer, the mule and the 2 x 4.
Copied from a random web instance with some shortening:
"There is a story about a farmer who wanted to sell his mule so he put the ad in the local paper.
"One day a man from another community came to the farm and the two farmers got to talking about the mule. The farmer who wanted to buy the mule asked if the mule was a good worker. The reply was that the mule did a day’s work. The next question that was asked is did the mule obey every command. The owner said yes. The farmer asked if they could hitch the mule up to see how he worked. The owner said no problem.
"They got the mule into his harness and the farmer took the reins and told the mule giddy-up.
"The mule just stood there.
"The farmer tried a couple of more times and still the mule didn’t move. He looked at the owner and said, “I thought you told me this mule obeys.”
“He does,” says the owner, who then picked up a 2x4 and walked to the front where he was
facing the mule. He then hit the mule as hard as he could with the 2x4. He then walked back and said to the farmer, “Try again.” The farmer did and the mule obeyed.
“The owner said, “This mule always obeys, but you have got to get his attention first.””
My interpretation is that Maïmouna Doucouré wanted to whack up some attention about the problem of young girls in French culture being conditioned to put on sexiness at an early age. Given that this Senegalese director was working in France, where you’re generally allowed to show a level of reality that American, Canadian (except Québec) and Australian audiences have never been able to withstand, she pulled no punches and showed what it looked like when 11 year olds got hooked on internet influencer culture and decided to have a go at mastering the slinky pop image of female sexiness from Beyoncé and beyond. The twerks that have got various Anglophone parties so worked up are the equivalent of the 2 x 4 whacks on the hypothetical French cultural donkey, waking it up with “this is what your loose values lead to.” In the end, our heroine Amy, after becoming mean, thieving and competitive, becomes properly disgusted by her dabblings in excess and makes a wise decision to return to being a kid and playing skip rope.
No one who shakes their fist at Hollywood’s provocative, giddily rebellious and reckless youth culture, where destroying the family home with a wild sensual party is the comedy norm ever since Tom Cruise was a sexy bairn dancing in his underwear, would have any reason to be displeased with Doucouré’s clear moral editorial.
So all this stuff about lawbreaking and pedophiles at Netflix is just political flim-flam, kneejerk on the left, and on the right, opportunists capitalizing on something that would seem to have some shock value when you deliberately commit yourself to knowing nothing about it.
The people who are trying to get mileage out of conspiratorializing this film should stop waving their prudenda around and go skip some rope.