Music’s Controversy

"Music" movie trailer

Julia Dun Rappaport, Staff Writer

A new movie many expected beautiful mellifluousness from has started to become more of a racket. Pop star Sia has written and directed the movie titled Music, and it has called for more than just popcorn and applause — controversy. The movie features a character named Music (played by Maddie Ziegler), who is exploring a new life with her half-sister, Zu (Kate Hudson). 

Many find this movie deeply problematic, as the star, Maddie Ziegler, an American dancer and actress, is a white neurotypical person playing a biracial character on the autistic spectrum. Some people are calling this “modern day blackface” because, as some Twitter users pointed out, it appears that Maddie is wearing makeup to make her skin look darker. 

In addition to that, Maddie’s body language and movements throughout the film are also very problematic. Twitter user @autisticats tweeted, This performance is a caricature of autistic body language. It’s unsettling, and insincere. And it is deeply reminiscent of the exaggerated mannerisms non-autistic people often employ when bullying autistic and developmentally disabled people for the ways we move.

Many people agree, and believe the whole movie is upsetting, offensive, and wrong. The film received a low rating of 8% from the critics of the website Rotten Tomatoes. According to rottentomatoes.com, Offensive in its depiction of autism — and painfully misguided in essentially every respect — Music is a vanity project that begs to be turned down.” 

Although some critics were strongly against Music, many thought it to be a beautiful piece, and it was even nominated for a 2021 Golden Globe award. It did not win, and some found the fact of it being nominated a problem to begin with. A movie that has been found harmful and offensive has been praised and put on a pedestal, which is angering many people. 

All in all, the movie has received copious amounts of both positive and negative reactions, and it’s up to the individual viewer to decide whether or not the movie is offensive to them. Music could bring harm and hate to the disabled community, so whether viewers like it or not, it is important to consider how this film could impact many people who are autistic or who are aware of disabilities that people could have.