Music

Consoling each other over the poor reviews
Verdict: 
3/10 - While she may have had good intentions, Sia has ended up making a movie which is offensive to the very community she's trying to spotlight
Release Date: 
Monday, February 15, 2021
Written by: 

Sia's longtime music video star Maddie Ziegler plays an autistic teen alongside Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr. in this bizarre musical.

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Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about Sia's directorial debut Music already thanks to the controversy over her casting Maddie Ziegler as an autistic teen. And now you can check it out for yourself.

Sia's longtime muse and regular music video star Ziegler is Music, a largely non-verbal teenager who has been raised by her grandmother Millie (Mary Kay Place), with some help from neighbours George (Hector Elizondo) and Ebo (Leslie Odom Jr.).

When Millie suddenly passes away, recovering addict Zu (Kate Hudson) is forced to become her younger sister's guardian, which is a recipe for disaster because she can barely look after herself, let alone a teenager with complex needs.

 

Sia has insisted that she had good intentions when she made this movie but she's ended up making a film that is offensive to the very community she's trying to spotlight.

Casting Ziegler as an autistic character was a misguided decision in itself, but what makes it even worse is her acting - Ziegler's mannerisms are exaggerated and like a caricature of an autistic person; Music never feels like a real human being.

Given the title of the film, you might assume that Music (the person) is the star of Music (the film), but she's not. She is pushed aside once Zu comes into the picture.

Her story is lost in favour of Zu's redemption arc, and Music fades into the background more and more and becomes a supporting character.

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And the issues don't stop there. The movie is littered with these fantasy musical sequences that are colourful and highly stylised and serve as Music's daydreams, yet they offer no real insight into her mind.

The pop songs were nice to listen to and the contemporary choreography was interesting to watch but they belonged in a completely different film - they made no sense in the context of the movie.

Sia has essentially squashed two films together, or perhaps more accurately, squashed a series of surreal music videos into her gritty addiction drama. They also interrupt the flow of the narrative and don't add anything to the story or push it forward, so they're basically just pointless musical interludes.

Hudson doesn't do a terrible job yet her Golden Globe nomination is surprising. Odom Jr. is the kind and compassionate Ebo, who is given an unconvincing romance storyline with Zu, while Ben Schwartz plays Zu's employer - she sells his drugs to clients such as Evelyn (Juliette Lewis) and "Popstar Without Borders", played by Sia in a jaw-droppingly odd cameo.

But everyone is done a disservice by the script, which only offers up one-dimensional characters.

It's mind-boggling that Music has been nominated for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at the Globes - the film is a mess, a mishmash of tones that don't work together, and above all else, it's offensive, tone-deaf, and misguided.

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