When thinking of companies that have been thriving during the tumultuous year of 2020, very few (if any) come to mind before Netflix.
While others like Hulu and Disney Plus are indeed doing well, it is Netflix that is undoubtably the name we think of first when we think of streaming movies (as well as TV shows) at home. This was until they got a big hit in culture last week when they released the French Indie film Cuties.
A quick recap for those who have not even heard of this situation: the film tells the story of 11-year-old Amy (Fathia Youssouf), who discovers a group of girls her age that have their own competitive dance group. They dance as if they are watching the 2020 Superbowl Halftime show (the one with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira) on repeat. In short, it shows the girls dancing in rather provocative and sexual ways.
Much of this drew attention from the way the movie was publicized, especially the poster (of which Netflix has apologized for). The film’s director (and screenplay writer), Maimouna Doucoure, has indeed stated she did the movie so people could become more aware of these horrible issues that young girls are faced with.
Nevertheless, countless people took to social media saying they would cancel Netflix. A number of politicians (including Ted Cruz) have voiced their opinions and trying to look into the situation as well.
I tread carefully now, as I mention the fact that I did end up seeing the film (I trust no one reading this thinks I did so for immoral reasons). Of course, the idea of pedophilia is something I abhor. Still, if 2020 has taught me anything, it is that finding out what to believe is difficult when it comes to getting the news. Did the people boycotting Netflix actually see the film (it seems more doubtful when you remember the film is non-english).
The film itself is indeed difficult to watch, not something I plan on doing again, despite there being talent in the cast and crew. It was best summed up when the wife of a friend mentioned how pedophiles who watch the film would not care for things such as plot, character development, or basic drama. A fact that is sad, but true.
The one thing I can’t agree on, however, is canceling Netflix all together. I understand it is Netflix the message that they went too far, but I question those that cancelled the service: do they plan on rejoining at some point? If I thought that cancelling Netflix over a bad movie was the way to go, I would have cancelled after 2018’s The Cloverfield Paradox, one of the worst films I saw in the last ten years (albeit not a film wrong in the moral sense).
I am reminded of two of Jesus’s parables, both of which are found in Matthew 13. Each are used to describe the kingdom of heaven. The first is of the weeds (v 24-30), in which owner discovers an enemy has sown weeds in his wheat field. When asked by his servants if they should pull up the weeds, the owner says no, or the wheat may be pulled with them (Jesus later explains this in verses 36-43). The second parable is of the net (v 47-50), in which fisherman are separating the good fish and the bad fish.
The same can be applied to any streaming service. We go to it like we would have when we had video rental stores (remember those?). We walk through the store, look for what seems good, and make a judgment call. I have yet to hear of anyone who went into any video store, saw one bad movie, and refused to go back again.
While I do respect those who have cancelled the service, I want them to remember that there are still other films on there to check out.
Don’t let one rotten apple ruin the whole barrel.