People don’t like Sia’s new movie, here’s why

Shaylen Stancil, Staff Writer

Award-winning singer and songwriter Sia is trying to make a name for herself in the film industry. Sia’s first film, “Music,” which she wrote and directed, was released on Feb. 10, and the response to it so far has not been positive. As of Feb. 18 it had an 11% rating on RottenTomatoes and 3.1/10 on IMDb.

The story follows a girl with autism named Music (Maddie Ziegler) and her older sister Zu (Kate Hudson) who has recently become her legal guardian.

Film critics and fans of Sia have found this movie to be insensitive and tone-deaf toward the autism community. The main issue people have is that the actress who plays Music, former “Dance Moms” star, Ziegler, is neurotypical. Audiences have said that a movie that raises awareness about autism should feature an actor who is on the autism spectrum. Critics have said that Maddie’s portrayal of a person with autism was dramatic and over-exaggerated to the point that her portrayal comes across as mocking. Sia claims that she did originally cast a non-verbal autistic actor, but the actor found the experience to be “unpleasant and stressful.”

Another issue for critics is a scene in the movie where Music is having a meltdown and her sister uses a restraint method called the prone restraint to calm her. This method is extremely dangerous and has been a cause of death for people with autism. According to an article by Vice, at least 20 children have died as a result of restraints since 2001.

Sia addressed this on Twitter prior to deleting her account by saying, “I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings,” she wrote. “I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”

Despite everything wrong with this movie, in late January, “Music” received two Golden Globe nominations, for Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, while Kate Hudson’s performance was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.