Music (2021)


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

The Night Clerk (2020)

The Night Clerk is a 2020 American crime drama film written and directed by Michael Cristofer. It stars Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas, John Leguizamo Abdul Helen Hunt. The film follows the story of front desk clerk at a hotel that is suspected of a murder that happens after his shift.

Bart Bromley is a twenty- three year old man with Aspergers Syndrome who lives with his mom, Ethel. He works as a front desk clerk at night at a local hotel. He studies guests staying at the hotel with hidden cameras to help with his social skills. At home in his room, he has several screens set up to watch what he records from work. The videos start out innocent, but take a dark turn when he witnesses a man hit a woman and the murder of another female guest.

He meets a young lady, Andrea Rivera, who is a guest at the hotel and after spending hanging with her for the next few days, he becomes infatuated with her, even going the length to buy a new a car, get a haircut and dress clothes. But his work goes down the drain when he sees her with another man and becomes jealous. He soon forgives her after she cones to him at the front desk saying it was over with the man. She leads him, first acting a friend, then flirts with him and leaves with another man, that Bart knows is the murderer of the other lady.

Bart is found sitting on the bed of crime scene room when his coworker finds him and tells him not to touch anything, he’s going to call the police. Bart disobeys him, touching the blood of the dead woman, taking the chip out of his hidden camera and other things, leaving his fingerprints as evidence, as wel as the blood on his shirt. Because of this, police consider him a likely suspect.

Bart loses his job, confronts the man Andrea has been seeing, after catching him hurt her in her hotel room. Andrea and Bart escape to his house, where he shows her the hidden camera footage. She decides to play it safe and stay the night with Bart. Bart awakes to find her gone.

There have been many films involving autistic characters, some better than others. Some hit the nail on the head as far as mannerisms, lifestyle, etc., but many stereotype. This film gets Aspergers almost perfectly. Tye Sheridan is outstanding as Bart Bromely, portraying a socially awkward, autistic young man so well, making him seem like a real person. Helen Hunt is great as his mother Ethel Bromely, who is a little bit of sheltering mother, but also protective and loving. Ana de Armas is also great as Andrea Rivera, who plays with Bart’s mind throughout the film. John Leguizamo is fantastic as Detective Espada, who at first is iffy about making Bart a likely suspect, because of his disability, but is forced to do it.

Autistic people have trouble reading people’s emotions and the often have trouble understanding what a person has said. The often act or say inappropriately as well. Bart is prime example of that. He knew it was wrong to tamper with the evidence, but he wanted to get the camera and the footage out. He didn’t realize that Andrea was just playing him and trying to frame him until closer to the end of the film.

While the acting is superb in this movie, it does focus a little too much on Bart, his condition and him being likely guilty by police, rather than trying to find more evidence and reasons to arrest or not arrest him. This film starts out rather slow, but does pick up, other scenes are pretty slow too. You want Bart to get over Andrea, but he can’t, that’’s the way he thinks. He tries so hard to be more social, but it doesn’t always work.This isn’t action packed, but some scenes are pretty intense, some disturbing

You don’t have to relate to Bart or know anyone with Aspergers to enjoy this film. Although I don’t think is movie is fantastic, it is pretty good. It makes you wonder about howe disabled people get accused of crimes they didn’t commit. The acting is great, but there could have been a little less Andrea and Bart’s crush on her, could’ve been focused on less, it’s a crime drama, not a romance. I didn’t love this film, nor did I hate it. It was only petty good, because it did need some changes to be excellent. 18 & up 3.5/5