Pop Artist Sia Causes Controversy With New Film

‘Music’ is a story of love and acceptance and the impact one person can have on another.

Maddie+Ziegler+as+Music+in+a+scene+described+as+being+overstimulating+to+sensitive+groups.

Maddie Ziegler as ‘Music’ in a scene described as being overstimulating to sensitive groups.

Cancel Culture is alive and well thanks to a new movie written and directed by Sia. Music tells the story of a newly sober woman that learns she has become the guardian of her half-sister Music; who is autistic, and together they become family.

The film stars Kate Hudson, Maddie Ziegler, and Leslie Odom Jr. Kate Hudson plays recovering addict Zu, and the titular character Music is played by Maddie Ziegler. Known from the smash musical Hamilton, Odom Jr plays the neighbor next door that helps Zu understand Music and her disability.

Music is nominated for two Golden Globes; Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy and Best Actress-Musical or Comedy for Kate Hudson. A petition started by Nina Skov Jensen on change.org calling for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to rescind the nominations has amassed over one hundred thousand signatures.

The movie can feel like a stereotype if you are unfamiliar with individuals who are on the autism spectrum. The main character Music, however, is low functioning and requires guidance and supervision when going about her day-to-day activities. Music, at its core, is a touching love letter if taken the time to appreciate.

With that being said, it is not a film that can be watched by everyone. The musical numbers throughout the film have been described as sensory overload, therefore the negative reactions. But if you take the film with a grain of salt, one can appreciate the musical sequences as a way to represent how brilliant of a mind Music has despite her disability.

What’s important to remember is that there is always going to be one individual in the crowd that will be offended. When this happens, it starts a wildfire effect; soon those around them will feel the flames and cry out in a similar fashion. This is the case with the film Music. It is far from a perfect film, but the mob that has called for cancellation has judged a film without watching it. This can also be known as ‘review bombing’, where large groups of people will negatively speak about a published work on the internet without experiencing it firsthand.

Criticism of the film has drawn comparisons to the 2003 film Radio that starred Cuba Gooding Jr as a mentally disabled man. Many have felt that Music undermines the intellectual capabilities of autistic people and showcases a lack of inclusivity and minority representation.

According to tweets posted by Sia on Twitter, the production of the film began with an actress that was on the autism spectrum to play “Music”. However, as more preparations took place, she realized that the actress first chosen wouldn’t be able to perform in the scenes that had bright colors and dance choreography; due to her sensory sensitivity. To no surprise, Sia chooses Maddie Ziegler as the replacement; who has worked with the pop star on numerous projects. Ziegler has received backlash for her portrayal of an autistic person, calling the performance mocking and inconsiderate. Sia has also gone on to apologize and acknowledged that the scenes of restraint would be removed from all future printings.

Regardless of the criticism, ‘Music’ is a story of love and acceptance and the impact one person can have on another.

If you are interested in watching ‘Music’, it is currently available to rent or buy on Amazon and Vudu streaming services.