Hey look, its the movie Music! You know, the one recently nominated for some golden globes? It received a nomination for both Best Musical or Comedy and a nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. That must be why everyone is talking about it, right? Right?
Oh wait, no. That is…anger I see and hear on the internet. Probably more anger than I have ever seen from any film nominated before. And wow, those IMDB ratings are super low. And (checks my own rating), wow, a 0 out of 4. I don’t know if I have ever given a 0 out of 4 to anything nominated for Best Film. That is pretty bizarre and rare.
What could have people (and myself) so up in arms about a simple movie, directed by Sia, our favorite wig wearing singer?
“Shhh, don’t listen to the haters, you are wonderful.” – Sia, probably.
Her sister’s name is Music (Maddie Ziegler) and she, in fact, loves music. She is also a mostly nonverbal autistic girl living with her mom in a small apartment. She always has headphones on and is listening to music (way to pick a good name as a baby, I guess), and able to go about her day. She can do a whole lot on her own, she can leave the home, go on walks, and all of that, no issues! Unless her life suddenly changes or something alters her schedule. Like when their mom dies.
So now Zu is brought in to take care of her sister, and gains any and all rights over her. She doesn’t think she can “handle her” and wants out of it as soon as she can, but also, family, you know. And since Zu is still very much mostly in on the drug selling game, it is not like her job is friendly towards those with “problems” they might have at home.
There is a Tropic Thunder reference I can’t make anymore that applies here.
A lot of what was said and spoken out against has points. It would be different if it is was just a low level of autism, but Ziegler went really really far into the spectrum with her acting, so the whole thing shows as mocking and uncomfortable. The entire film.
It is very clear Sia just loves working with Ziegler and wants her in every project she does, given their relationship in music videos for the last decade. This film seems to actually exist to create more fun and colorful videos to Sia songs. I lost count how many times it happens, more than five. I believe they are to represent what Music’s reality looks like, as it features the people in her life, and singing and dancing and elaborate costumes. It is all very much on Sia’s brand. I guess that is Sia stating that she pictures her music videos as an autistic girls reality fuel? I don’t know.
But back to more of the movie. We have an insulting performance by the lead, a main plot that is basically having to “deal with family members that need help” and the burden of autism, and a shit ton of Sia music videos that thematically are repetitive. She claims to be woke and trying to represent the autism community, but she is doing it by failing to represent the actual autism community. Hell, there is even a line where they decide to culturally appropriate spirit animal and no character on screen is there to correct it.
Look, this film is problematic in its obvious (and Sia agrees) ableism that is being shoved in the viewer’s faces. There are plenty of reasons to avoid it for all of that. But the film itself is also a really bad movie and completely should be blasted on that front as well. And for something like the Golden Globes to nominate it? Well, awards are usually bought anyways.
Now if you will excuse me, I am going to listen to the long version of Breathe Me one last time and be annoyed that this basically puts a dark mark on the absolutely perfect ending of Six Feet Under as well.