“Music” is still about a month away from arriving in select theaters and VOD, but the film has already become a bit infamous thanks to the controversy surrounding the casting of the title character. And without knowing anything about the controversy, it’s clear in the trailer that how you feel about the film is going to come down to how you deal with the fact that a neurotypical person is playing someone on the autism spectrum.
The trailer for “Music” does a good job of explaining the story. A woman, Zu, finds herself as the legal guardian of a half-sister she didn’t realize existed. But much to her surprise, her sister, Music, is on the autism spectrum and can only communicate through a tablet. But really, the film is a showcase of musical numbers featuring songs from Sia and elaborate song and dance numbers, where Music seems to be a neurotypical girl that is suddenly an incredible dancer.
The film stars Kate Hudson, Maddie Ziegler, and Leslie Odom, Jr. As is made abundantly clear in the trailer, this feature is the directorial debut for musician-singer Sia. She developed the story for the film and co-wrote the script with Dallas Clayton.
And that’s where the controversy lies. Sia has come forward with some harsh defenses of her film after people realized that Ziegler would be portraying Music in the film. Ziegler has worked with Sia on a number of projects, including some very famous music videos. So, it’s obvious why Sia would pick the young dancer for the film. However, Sia has been steadfast in her defense of casting someone who isn’t on the autism spectrum for the role. She’s even gone so far as to call the choice “nepotism.” And if you’re someone that thinks this is an offensive choice, watching the trailer is only going to make that even more clear.
“Music” arrives in IMAX theaters on February 10 before arriving on VOD on February 12. You can watch the trailer below.
Here’s the synopsis:
MUSIC is about the magic that can happen when someone who cannot speak with words finds people who can listen with their hearts. The story begins when Zu (Hudson), estranged from her family and a lifelong self-saboteur, finds herself the sole guardian of Music (Ziegler), her teenage half-sister, after the death of their grandmother. Music is nonverbal and on the autism spectrum, and her grandmother has lovingly created a schedule and daily routine to support her with the help of some neighborhood friends. Not having had her grandmother’s experience of loving and caring for Music, Zu instantly struggles with her new responsibility as caretaker. Their less than peaceful first breakfast together is overheard by their neighbor Ebo (Odom), a kind and gentle soul who surprises Zu by demonstrating not only his compassion, but his keen understanding of Music. His own, slowly revealed life story, makes him someone Zu can depend on and learn from as well. MUSIC combines a heartfelt tale about the power of love with musical sequences that propel and amplify the story, giving the audience a vivid window into the characters’ inner lives.