Written and directed by Adelaide’s own Sia, Music is a cinematic ode to the star’s musical talents.
Music presents a somewhat utopian version of the world of disability and Autism Spectrum Disorder, following the trials and tribulations of half-sisters Zu (Kate Hudson) and Music, a young girl with autism played by Dance Moms’ Maddie Ziegler.
Newly sober, Zu finds greater meaning in family as she learns to embrace Music with the same warmth, support and sense of community as any family would. However, the film’s optimistic and slightly warm-and-fuzzy approach to disability in a family setting may have missed the mark when portraying how those with disabilities and mental health concerns are received in the broader community.
The technicolour, dreamlike and stylised musical sequences are what really makes this film a unique cinematic experience – a real point of difference to most works that aim to explore disability and living with Autism.
Imbued with a sense of fun and warmth, the choreography is a highlight, full of Sia’s signature facial expression (made famous originally with the help of Maddie Ziegler, an undying partnership that has now crossed from the music video scene to the big screen).
At the film’s core is an important and often overlooked discussion around neuro-divergent individuals. This effort could be received as significantly tone deaf and exclusionary, given the casting of neuro-typical Ziegler as a girl with Autism. While the film sets out to invite an open discussion about Autism Spectrum Disorder, it lacks the depth that could have been afforded by a more honest exploration of its key character, Music.
Music is screening in cinemas now
Reviewed by Daisy Sumersford
Pictures supplied (credit: Merrick Morton)