NOTE**** The following rant is based just on reviews and trailers. I have not actually seen either film.
Recently, I read a review over at Bonjour Tristesse about a movie called "Michael" that had a very controversial premise. It's about an older man who keeps a ten-year-old boy locked up in his basement. The review went on to mention how this guy tries to appear normal to everyone around him and I find that to be incredibly scary. The real monsters in the world are the ones that are genuinely nice. The title character in this story gets along well with co-workers, family, and even has a descent social life, all while sexually assaulting a child he has locked up. It's very common to want to see this character portrayed as an ugly, sick person doing these awful things, because we don't want to think of this person as a real human being with real emotions.
Now I see that Adam Sandler has a new comedy coming out this weekend called "That's My Boy". In it, a female teacher has sex with an eight-year-old boy (IMDB and the trailer both say he is a teenager, but he looks like a damn child to me), which results in him becoming a father at a young age. After the mother goes to prison, someone in the government thinks it would be a great idea for this kid to raise his new son by himself (with, I'm guessing, some sort of supervision). I know this is a comedy and I've got to look past some things, but this is fucking ridiculous. There is no way they would let a kid raise a small baby. Yet, that is not my biggest problem with this movie. I am more disturbed that a female teacher basically molests a child and we look at this as a comedy.
Both movies have adults molesting kids. One may argue that the sex in "Michael" is not consensual and I one-hundred-percent agree that it is not. But, the sex between the student and the teacher in "That's My Boy" is not so innocent either. She just didn't have him chained up in her basement. Look, I don't blame the kid for being sexually attracted to his teacher, that is fine. I don't even really mind movies where the teacher does has sex with a younger student. However, "That's My Boy" takes it into a creepy territory, because they try to make this woman look incredibly sensual when she is basically a child molester. This movie seems to be making the argument that as long as you are good looking, then taking advantage of your students is certainly acceptable. Even though the boy grows up to be kind of a loser, he still is looked at as being some kind of hero for having sex with an older woman.
I mentioned over at The Lamb, when I reviewed the trailer to "That's My Boy", to switch the gender roles. Let's have it be about a good looking male teacher (Ryan Gosling, George Clooney) who seduces a young girl into having sex and see how well that gets a wide release. Would "Michael" get wider distribution if it had been about a woman keeping a small boy prisoner? Or would it have been better if the man was keeping a young girl captive, instead? Older woman seducing younger guys or girls seems to be more morally acceptable in the movies, just look at movies such as "The Graduate" or "American Pie". But when it's an older guy seducing a younger girl or boy, then he looks like a rapist.
Both movies are completely different in tone, but just the idea of an older person taking advantage of a younger person is still very creepy, in my opinion. It's like our society accepts some forms of pedophilia, but not others. They just don't understand that neither is okay. Remember that one teacher who had sex with her thirteen-year-old student and ended up in Playboy Magazine? She was accepted by society when she should have been shunned. As much as I am really creeped out by the premise of "Michael", at least that movie doesn't try to make it's pedophile sexually attractive, and that's my biggest rant about "That's My Boy".