The musician Sia is best known for her pop hits (“Move Your Body”, “Cheap Thrills”). The 45-year-old is now celebrating her debut as a feature film director with the lively musical “Music”. There were two Golden Globes nominations for this, including one for leading actress Kate Hudson. The film tells about a young autistic girl named Music (Maddie Ziegler) who is raised by her grandmother.
The protagonist is impaired in everyday life, hardly speaks, follows strict routines and constantly wears headphones because otherwise she would not be able to cope with the environmental influences. She finds refuge in music – the story keeps moving into her brain, where there are surreal and happy singing and dancing interludes.
Maddie Ziegler plays this very convincingly. If she constantly curls her lips, jerks her body with jerky movements or rolls her eyes, it doesn’t seem artificial. The 18-year-old has been known as a dancer since she was little. She became famous through appearances in Sia’s music videos, around the age of twelve in “Chandelier”.
Music needs an orderly everyday life. It is turned upside down when her grandmother dies and then her half-sister Zu (Kate Hudson) comes into her life. She is struggling with her own life, is an alcoholic and deals drugs. She tries to temporarily live with music and receives support from neighbor Ebo (Leslie Odom Jr.).
Even before it was released, the musical was criticized. The reason: the autistic girl is not played by an autistic actress. In addition, the film with its trendy dance and music interludes is not suitable for many people with autistic impairments, some criticized under the music video of the single “Together” on YouTube. Because many people with autism have difficulty perceiving sensory stimuli and can quickly become overwhelmed by them. An activist started a petition to stop the film. According to media reports, Sia apologized on Twitter – but later deleted her account.
The criticism of dealing with autism leaves an aftertaste. Apart from that, “Music” is probably worthwhile especially for fans of the talented songwriter Sia. Kate Hudson also delivers a strong performance – and can thus comfort a little over the fact that, unlike the music, the story remains flat and the characters are told somewhat one-dimensionally.