Music is a 2021 American musical drama film directed by singer-songwriter Sia. It stars Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Maddie Ziegler and is Sia’s directorial debut. The movie follows Zu, a freshly sober drug dealer who becomes the sole gaurdian of her half-sister Music, a teenage non-verbal autistic girl.
When I first read about Sia making this film, I was excited, as I am on the autistic spectrum myself. I also love Sia’s music and was eager to this movie. After reading and hearing all the controversy, I was still willing to give it a try, so I tried to watch with an open mind. There are very few good things about this film and lots of bad. I applaud the music, the choreography and Sia for her idea, but the idea wasn’t executed well at all. It is supposed to shine a light on autism and instead does not. It stereotypes and shows scenes that are actually harmful to autistic people, like the restraint scene and the flashing lights and loud music, that would cause an autistic to have either a meltdown, panic attack or seizures. The fact the main character is unaffected by the brightness and loudness is the complete opposite of a person on the spectrum.
This film doesn’t educate neurotypicals (as they’re called in the autism world) about autism (particularly non-verbal), it instead paints a world with a combination of stereotyping and falseness. Yes, all people on the spectrum are different, but this like a picture painted by someone who knows very little about the disabilities. I know the actors and actresses were just doing as they were told to, so no fault to them. This is all on Sia and screenwriter Dallas Clayton, who created what they thought would be a masterpiece, but instead it is just a horrible piece that should’ve never been filmed in the first place. The mere fact that Sia worked with Autism Speaks, a charity trying to cure autism, is bad too, as there is no cure.
Kate Hudson does a good job in her role as Zu. Leslie Odom Jr. is the stereotypical gay African American, but is just okay in his part. Maddie Ziegler does mediocre in the title role, but I believe that isn’t necessarily because she’s not autistic, but because she needs more experience at just acting alone, instead of dancing and acting combined like she normally does. She was just going by what she saw in videos and movies and tried to reenact what she saw.
So many people criticize Sia for not casting an autisic actor or actress for the lead part, and although it would’ve made it more realistic if she had, non-disabled people can play disabled characters like Leonardo DiCaprio in What;s Eating Gilbert Grape, Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot, it has to be done right like these films. Research has to be done extensively and I believe both Sia and Dallas Clayton did very little of.
Overall, I loved the music and the parts of the story, but didn’t really enjoy this movie. I was mostly bored, confused and offended throughout watching. I wanted to like it and prove people wrong about the controversy, but hated for the most part. I now get the criticism, the disgust and hatred towards this film. All the good reviews are mostly from neurotypicals who don’t know much about the autistic spectrum, if at all, they just see the art of the film, not the story, cinematography and art combined.
Whether you’re on the spectrum, have another disability(ies), or not, do not bother watching this film. It is offensive to the max and boring, even the song and dance scenes are mediocre at best. Sia should be ashamed of this piece she calls art. It’s not art, it’s garbage. I don’t know how anyone can like this movie or even make it through the first 20-30 minutes without being appalled. This is a cringe-worthy pile junk that just seems thrown together fast and called a motion picture. Nothing carefully curated to be the least bit realistic. Wow! Just Wow! 13+ 1.5