‘Music’ on Amazon Prime, Sia’s Blundering Musical About a Young Woman With Autism and Her Addict Sister

Music, the practically universally maligned directorial debut by pop star Sia that “gained” Worst Director, Worst Actress, and Worst Supporting Actress on the 2021 Razzies, runs one other gauntlet with its Amazon Prime debut. First, Sia was chastised for casting the neurotypical Maddie Ziegler as an adolescent with non-verbal autism. Then, the film was additional criticized for that includes scenes depicting bodily restraint on Ziegler’s character, a extremely harmful motion; Sia responded with a collection of apologies and a promise to incorporate a warning within the movie and to take away the scenes, neither of which seems to have occurred for this model on Amazon. Moreover, Leslie Odom Jr.’s function has been criticized for being a stereotypical “magical negro.” And eventually, the movie was nominated for 2 Golden Globes, together with for greatest musical or comedy, a daft notion that solely serves as an instance the corrupt mudhole that the Globes have turn out to be, and an appropriately insane coda to the entire Music fiasco.


The Gist: Music — sure, the character’s title is Music, performed by Ziegler — pulls on her white sweatpants. She at all times wears headphones. Fade to a closeup of Music, headphones changed by huge Princess Leia hair buns. She’s clad in a garish orange and yellow outfit, and makes her approach via a surreal, all-orange set, which is sensible as soon as we understand {that a} music video for a Sia music is what’s occurring right here. We squint on the display screen as we surprise if Ziegler’s exaggerated mannerisms are affectations of the character or a part of the video’s choreography. The scene transitions to Music in “actuality,” waking up, getting off the bed, getting dressed, and many others., and we understand the mannerisms are undoubtedly affectations of the character. Her grandmother (Mary Kay Place) makes her eggs and braids her hair, and Music heads out for a stroll, a big wide-eyed smile on her face. She’s not alone although, as a result of her pals and neighbors know to control her: The sort fellow subsequent door George (Hector Elizondo), one other type fellow subsequent door in Ebo (Leslie Odom Jr.) and shy teen Felix (Beto Calvillo), amongst others. That is a part of Music’s routine. It takes a village, and all that, I assume.

After which Grandma drops lifeless within the kitchen. George finds her. Music doesn’t appear to acknowledge or comprehend what occurred. Elsewhere, Zu (Kate Hudson), which is brief for Kazu, pronounced “kazoo,” wakes up after dozing off at an AA assembly. She will get the decision and heads again to Grandma’s cluttered condo. She’ll must take care of her half-sister Music, a improvement that appears extra like an inconvenience than a accountability wrought by tragedy. Zu hasn’t been round a lot. She’s in restoration for habit and on probation, and all this can hamper her means to hawk illicit painkillers for her supplier pal. Amongst her preliminary questions for George: Is there a will? Which is a approach of asking if there’s any cash, after all. Grandma left a letter, and proper there on the high it says there’s no cash. Zu sighs. She quite cavalierly calls a psychological well being establishment and asks in the event that they do “pickups.” The response? Dial tone.

Zu’s precedence is to dig via the condo in search of money, however she’s quickly reminded that Music’s routine shouldn’t be upset, lest she expertise a traumatic episode. Fortunately, Ebo is true subsequent door and appears to have quite a lot of time on his fingers, so he swoops in to avoid wasting Zu’s behind and present her the ropes. As Ziegler and her bevy of ill-advised affectations principally merely exist within the background, Zu tries to determine her shit out in a brand new context, and is {that a} romantic spark between her and Ebo? Zu appears to have quite a lot of limitations to her persona, and she or he has to climb them simply as a lot as Ebo does. In the meantime, all the previous stuff is continuously interrupted by Sia music movies that includes the principal forged members, the interludes serving to both deepen or obfuscate the film’s themes, I’m not fairly positive.

Kate Hudson and Maddie Ziegler in YouTube
Photograph: Sia/YouTube

What Motion pictures Will It Remind You Of?: Music finds an alarmingly unusual center floor between I Am Sam and Cats.

Efficiency Price Watching: Odom is just about the one survivor of this lethal cinematic crash. Certain, his character is just about a stereotype, and historical past will certainly selectively acknowledge him as a shining gentle in One Night in Miami. However he’s additionally an important grounding power in a film that’s in any other case unsalvageable.

Memorable Dialogue: “I’m getting you. There’s a darkish lady vibe you bought occurring,” is Ebo ‘s reply to the next only-half-joking quip by Zu: “I used to be really planning on sending (Music) to the folks pound later, however I assume I’ll maintain her round slightly longer.”

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Contemplating how awkward and misguided each part of human drama is on this film, we ought to be grateful there aren’t any intercourse scenes.

Our Take: Welcome to ?????: The Film, the place a collection of confounding selections render the ultimate product a real catastrophe. Sia’s good intentions — her objective: to offer folks with autism some illustration in motion pictures — are totally eclipsed by actuality: Ziegler’s efficiency is ill-informed, an empty assortment of bodily mannerisms hampered by an almost non-existent character who rapidly turns into a plot catalyst for Zu’s poorly outlined, cliched association of issues. It is a horrible technique to deal with the Music character. Horrible. She’s additionally set dressing for a haphazard love story between Zu and Ebo, and a tacked-on subplot about Felix and his abusive father. The dialogue is awkward and the enhancing is uneven and the central efficiency by Hudson is meant to be a wedding of world-weariness and immaturity, however the characterization is frustratingly opaque.

Additionally additionally, there’s the way of the music movies, which I consider are purported to be Music’s fantastical retreats from the difficulties of the world round her. They’re overdressed and garish — not in contrast to most pop music clips, for positive — and the songs are lyrically banal, as if making them emotionally resonant would possibly distract us from the outlandish costumes, make-up and choreography. The relevance of those sequences is misplaced on us. They disrupt the circulation of the narrative, which may gain advantage from making use of extra thought to the characters and fewer to the overt abstraction and high-concept all-caps ART of the musical bits. What’s Sia attempting to say with this movie? I haven’t the foggiest. Ought to we even attempt to determine it out? No approach.

Our Name: SKIP IT. To say Music is a failure is an understatement. It’s a debacle. A blunder. A misguided mess.

John Serba is a contract author and movie critic primarily based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn extra of his work at johnserbaatlarge.com or comply with him on Twitter: @johnserba.

Watch Music on Amazon Prime Video

https://decider.com/2021/08/05/music-amazon-prime-sia-movie-review/ | Stream It or Skip It?


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