Sia's controversial movie Music gets brutal first reviews

Dan Seddon
·3-min read
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment

From Digital Spy

Sia's feature-film directorial debut Music has been ripped apart by critics after being released in the US today (February 10).

The storyline follows Kate Hudson's newly-sober drug dealer Zu, who becomes the sole guardian of Maddie Ziegler's autistic teenager Music.

The movie became the subject of controversy when its first trailer was released last year, with many criticising the singer's decision to cast a neurotypical actor in the title role.

Photo credit: Signature Entertainment
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment

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Below, you'll find a collection of review snippets, and it's fair to say it's taken a bit of a bashing:

The Guardian:

"The tone of the drama in Sia's film shoots for kitchen sink realism, but is hampered in part by familiar pages ripped from the playbook, such as the old 'crime don't pay' chestnut and a Rain Man dynamic, involving a morally dubious person rejuvenated after spending time with an on-the-spectrum sibling.

"In Sia's film, as in Barry Levinson's 1988 road movie, the autistic characters feel more like dramatic tools to improve the circumstances of neurotypical people, rather than fully-fledged humans who think, feel and act on their own terms."


"Putting the various controversies involving its depiction of autism aside, this movie's schizophrenic swings between straight drama and disconnected musical numbers are so off-balance that it is hard to take it seriously at all."


"Taken from moment to moment, with some enjoyable ones along the way, Music is not the complete disaster its four-year stint in the can would suggest. But in the last stages, it's not doing itself that many favours as it veers toward predictable crises and resolutions for the two verbal characters."

Photo credit: Signature Entertainment
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment

Little White Lies:

"Every character has been conceived in spite of themselves; as the reluctant custodian to young Music (yes, Music is literally the girl's name), Kate Hudson plays a sobered-up drug addict getting by as a small-time pusher, completely devoid of the grit required to sell that profile. Their neighbour Ebo (Leslie Odom Jr) is a broadly African immigrant, a stereotype of model-minority helpfulness even as he relates his own sob story.

"They join Music in a handful of fantastical song-and-dance numbers occasionally overtaking their bleak reality, most of which resemble a trauma-themed Cirque du Soleil show."


"Why? It's a question that almost every baffling minute of Sia's profoundly ill-conceived Music inspires you to ask in some form or another, often with a different inflection but always with the same urgency.

"Why does the script feel like an inspirational Instagram post that was brought to life by a witch's curse? Why don't any of the film's stultifying dance sequences even try to advance the plot or allow its characters to meaningfully express how they feel inside?"

Photo credit: Signature Entertainment
Photo credit: Signature Entertainment

Related: 15 of the most controversial movies of all time

Sia apologised to the autism community after the film picked up two Golden Globes nominations last week.

"I promise, I have been listening," she wrote. "The motion picture MUSIC will, moving forward, have this warning at the head of the movie: MUSIC in no way condones or recommends the use of restraint on autistic people.

"There are autistic occupational therapists that specialise in sensory processing who can be consulted to explain safe ways to provide proprioceptive, deep-pressure feedback to help with meltdown safety."

She added: "I'm sorry."

Music is screening in select IMAX cinemas in the US for today only, while its on-demand release comes this Friday (February 12).

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