Hollywood Walks Fine Line With 13-Year-Old's Onscreen Rape

Chloe MoretzChloe Grace MoretzRemember Chloe Grace Moretz, the tween who made sailors blush for her use of a certain four-letter c-word in the movie Kick-Ass last year? She's now 14 and officially pushing the Hollywood limits even further. A new movie, Hick, stars Moretz as a 13-year-old in a relationship with a 26-year-old man. Oh yeah, and as a rape victim.

If that made your stomach turn, join the club. The movie also stars Gossip Girl's Blake Lively and Alec Baldwin, but it's yet to find a distributor -- likely because of its dark and disturbing subject matter. The question is: is this TOO much for anyone to see? Has Hollywood finally gone too far?

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It's certainly not the first time a movie has sexualized a teenager, and it's not the first time a child has been shown in a major motion picture as a victim of sexual abuse. The rape scenes in The Prince of Tides were so chilling that I can still recall my visceral reaction to seeing young Tom abused at least a decade and a half after my first viewing. And yet the film starring Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand earned a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards. It was art, not exploitation.

So what's the difference here?

Is it because Moretz is a girl? Rape of male children is so rarely reported that Prince surely earned points for shedding light on an important issue rather than titillating. But the rape of a child shouldn't titillate period. Be it male or female. It should by its very nature disgust an audience. 

Which makes it even harder to differentiate between the "good" use of a child rape scene in a movie to add to the plot and the objectification and sexualization of kids. Warner Todd Huston over at Andrew Breitbart writes of Moretz's scenes in Hick: "These are the sorts of stories that do nothing to enlighten or entertain. They cater to the worst, darkest impulses in us all."

I would disagree. Decades into the Law & Order franchise, most of us have L&O fatigue, but the SVU series, heavy on dark topics about sexually abused children, enjoys high ratings to this day. Not simply because it does find a way to entertain, but because it does continue to enlighten. It manages to impart important details on a problem that's very much in existence in America.

Having not seen Hick, I can't join Huston and the like in casting this movie in a villainous light. Not yet.

I'd like to see how it's treated. If Moretz's body is not shown, if the sexual acts are merely alluded to, and if the incidents are shown to be as depraved as the rape of a child surely is, then this is no more of an issue than any other film over the years. Art can imitate life without destroying it. If it's not treated carefully, however, this could be much worse than a kid saying the c-word.

Do you think this crosses a line or will you wait to see the movie to make up your mind?

 

Image via YouTube

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