Music is a tone deaf depiction of the autism community

Pictured here is Music, the leading character who is played by Maddie Ziegler.

Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

Pictured here is “Music,” the leading character who is played by Maddie Ziegler.

Netanya Shaffin, Reporter

The movie “Music,” directed by Sia and starring Maddie Ziegler, left people around the country speechless — but not regarding the plot and concept of the film. Rather, people were left offended, upset and overall furious at the creation of the movie. 

The movie revolves around the protagonist “Music” who is on the Autism spectrum. When her grandmother unexpectedly dies, Music’s sister Kazu is left to take care of her despite her being unequipped to handle Music’s everyday needs. 

In the beginning, I could not comprehend what was happening in the movie because I was so overwhelmed with the fact that the actress who played Music was completely neurotypical. The controversy surrounding the movie clouded the plotline and story, causing me to only focus on the negative aspects of the film.

The movie reminded me of other productions such as “The Good Doctor” starring Freddie Highmore, another neurotypical actor portraying someone on the spectrum. It is well known that Highmore works directly with someone on the spectrum for complete accuracy in the depiction of the condition. However, in “Music,” Sia worked with an organization called “Autism Speaks,” who many seem to think are ablest themselves. 

Despite all the roadblocks involving the creation of the film, “Music” itself deals with very serious issues such as drug addiction, mental health disorders and death, in a raw and real manner. Additionally, the main characters interact with Ebo, a man who is a family friend of both Music and Kazu. He begins to help inexperienced mother Kazu take care of Music. All of these small aspects really bring the movie together, which makes the plot introspective. If there was less controversy surrounding the production of the film, it would be a really outstanding and thought-provoking film to watch. 

The movie spends time shedding light on the hardships of family life. The movie illustrates that in real life, not everyone lives a perfect, upper class life, with rare issues pertaining to their everyday life. In fact, the characters in this movie are not well off and have both financial and personal issues. The developers of the movie did not just want to make a movie about autism, rather, they wanted to include several of today’s issues in addition to it.

Overall, I think the movie itself, disregarding the autism portrayal aspect, was fairly good. It portrayed many issues and shed light on aspects of society that do not get talked about that often. Despite that, I think that everything having to do with having an autistic character should have been dealt with in a different way. Sia should have definitely hired an actor on the spectrum, and if not, she should have at least had the actor work very closely with someone who is on the spectrum. Sia has also made critical remarks on the actors and viewers who threw backlash on her, which only added to how wrong her decisions were.