Sia’s ‘Music’ baffles viewers with confusing plot

Kelsey Mize, Guest Writer

If you’re searching for a discombobulated story of an autistic teenager with meaningless dance numbers, then “Music” is the movie for you.

As I stubbornly paid the $6.99 on Amazon Prime Video, I hoped that the ratings received from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb were mistaken. But, as I watched the story “unfold” before my eyes, I soon realized that the ratings given were true.

Zu, a newly sober alcoholic, receives news that she has become the guardian of her half-sister named Music, a young girl on the autism spectrum. Through hardships, love, and character development, Music highlights creating change and cultivating family.

As the overall plot goes hand-in-hand with what the movie’s basis was, you truly have to be focused to get the basis of this movie. Because of this, I would not recommend it because of the lack of organization and very puzzling development. If the conflicts at hand were the only ones focused on, then viewers would want to see the movie. But, sadly, this is not true.

Although the plot was a disarrayed mess of color, the majority of the acting was something that can be applauded.

Maddie Ziegler, playing the autistic girl Music, portrayed the mannerisms of someone of the autistic spectrum fairly well. There are some instances where her behaviors are inaccurate such as moments of prolonged speaking because people on the spectrum have a highly organized schedule, habits, and lifestyle. This is a reason why her chosen role is disrespectful to the autistic community since an actor of this spectrum was not chosen for the role.

Junior Gloria Price was disgusted by this film, feeling as though Ziegler’s casting was something of pure ignorance. “This movie is blatantly offensive to autistic people. The main character is portrayed by an abled actor and features stereotypical stimming (i.e. blinking, clenched wrists, etc.) but in a way, it’s like mockery,” she said.

As for Kate Hudson’s role as Zu (short for Kazu), her portrayal of a recovering drug addict was superb with a clear conflict of alcoholism being eradicated (character development). Through the help of Music, she was able to overcome that ongoing obstacle in her life and get a job as well as take care of someone other than herself. Zu’s acting when dealing with the hardships of Music are true and authentic, showing great bursts of emotion during the duration of the movie—someone that is going through withdrawal would have.

Lastly, Leslie Odom Jr’s Ebo was wholesome and a great asset to the primary cast, but we are never truly told what Ebo’s internal conflict is (something that everyone has in this story). We see him overcome family issues, but he specified that as not a considerable problem which is why we are left to wonder about his arising conflict. Even so, he brings light to Zu and Music’s life and makes their misfortunes easier to endure.

The multiple forms of cinematography such as musical, tragedy, and normalcy plot were extremely confusing and left me with only somewhat of remembrance of the movie’s concept. In talks of this, Felix Chang, a side character in the movie, unexpectedly dies and has no real connection to the movie’s plot, theme, and main characters. Even though his story was very tragic, I didn’t get to know him enough to truly understand who he was and how he related to the story’s theme.

Price was confused by the plot as well, illustrating many underdeveloped stories in the film. “While the plot evoked emotion in the viewer, it was disorganized and unrealistic. Zu and Ebo (neighbor) has a romantic interest, and one of Ebo’s trainees has a hidden relationship with Music, stories that were not dissected enough in the plotline. These examples show that there were many subplots brought to life with not enough depth and too many loose ends,” she said.

Lastly, in Music’s dance numbers, her boisterous moves and facial expressions clearly showed that she did not portray someone who has autism. Because of this, it is seen that she switches personalities throughout the movie which causes even more controversy.

Price found uncertainty in the dance numbers too, expressing extreme fragileness to autistic viewers with the colors and lights. She said, “ All of the dance numbers featured bright colors with quick movements, some including strobe lights. As an autistic person is the main focus of the movie, it is likely to have attracted more autistic viewers, and the overwhelming environment can and will lead to sensory overload among them.”

Even though Sia’s discordant drama creates waves of confusion and anger, I give her props for trying a different medium of entertainment, even though it clearly did not do her story justice. As a result of this, I have given this movie one out of five chandeliers.