Music directed by Australian singer Sia, starring Kate Hudson, Maddie Ziegler and Leslie Odom Jr. is about 20-something recovering addict Zu, who’s been told she now has full guardianship of her half-sister Music, after their grandmother suddenly dies. Music is on the Autism Spectrum and the film follows themes like finding your voice and creating family.
There’s a lot of controversy around Sia’s new film, as the character Music (Maddie Ziegler) is not played by someone who is on the autistic spectrum. Many people are saying that it is insensitive and ableist. While I can see why people may see this, I can also see that this movie isn’t about autism. It is about the trials and tribulations of life. The biggest thing I took away from this movie, is the idea that some people need help and some need to be needed. It is about when we meet those people and who they are.
Music is a non-verbal young girl with autism, who needs a bit of aid every day, and when her caregiver (Mary Kay Place) passes away suddenly it is up to her recovering alcoholic and drug dealing half-sister Zu (Kate Hudson) to take over. We follow them as they learn about each other, create new routines and meet new people. But the best part about their relationship, is seeing how they grow together and ultimately live-in harmony. It shows that love can be silent. But also displays that we all need each other, one way or another. No matter our circumstances.
This film is bright and fun, while still showing serious themes. It is a way for us to see how good can come out of bad situations. We just have to find the will and love within us help to push us through. There is always good in everyone, and when we join forces, we are unstoppable. This is prominently shown in Music and Zu’s relationship at the end of the film, I won’t spoil anything, but it’s pretty tear jerking.
The use of colour and the vibrancy of the film is breath-taking, but these colours and songs that play through the film don’t take away the fact, that the character development was poorly displayed, and took a while to get started. I was left with many questions after the film, because some moments were very disconnected and confusing. This is not a film for someone who wants to just sit and aimlessly watch something.
The direction was well done and the soundtrack was more than captivating. The writing was cleverly done and funny at times. There was no blatant disrespect towards Autism nor was it glamourized or showing stereotypes.
“Casting someone at her level of functioning was cruel, not kind, so I made the executive decision that we would do our best to lovingly represent the community,” Sia said in a response to a fan who asked why she didn’t cast a disabled actor for the role. She shone a light on other problems occurring in the world today, such as substance abuse, HIV, racism and family violence.
Written by Sophia Ivory
Curly hair and she don’t care, this stylish babe plays by her own rules. With a love for dance and all things body positive, you’ll usually find her searching out the latest fashion trends and digging through local thrift stores. Word of warning, don’t bring your dachshund around her, she’ll want to keep it.
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