Critics Hate Music
The new movie Music, Sia’s directorial debut, has been the subject of a whole lot of conversation lately. The film tells the story of a young woman, played by Kate Hudson, who’s forced to care for her nonverbal and autistic younger sister, whose name is Music. Maggie Ziegler, the young dancer from Sia’s videos, plays Music, and her casting has gotten Sia into hot water. Last year, responding to criticism that she should’ve cast an actor on the autism spectrum, Sia got mad on Twitter: “I actually tried working with a beautiful young girl non verbal on the spectrum and she found it unpleasant and stressful. So that’s why I cast Maddie… Grrrrrrrrrr. Fuckity fuck why don’t you watch my film before you judge it? FURY.”
Last week, Music got some big dark-horse awards nominations. The Golden Globes nominated Sia’s movie for Best Motion Picture – Musical Or Comedy and Kate Hudson for Best Actress – Musical Or Comedy. (The people who pay attention to awards shows were utterly flabbergasted by both nominations.) Soon afterward, Sia apologized to the autism community and announced that she would make some changes to the film: “I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough.”
Tomorrow, Music will come out on-demand in the US, and we’ll all get a chance to judge Sia’s movie for ourselves. But now the reviews are coming out, and Music currently has a robust Rotten Tomatoes score of 18%. Critics hate this thing, which really just makes me think of the old Onion piece about Pitchfork’s rating for the entire history of music. Check out some of the better headshot quotes from Music reviews below.
The cringeworthy drama Music introduces its central character in a song and dance sequence so gasp-inducingly crass, the scene almost demands that the movie be shown in theaters. At least then, audiences would be able to exercise the right to walk out.
Music is a sentimental atrocity so cringe-inducing it should come with an advisory warning for anyone with preexisting shoulder or back injuries.
In Music, it’s all a bit of a hodgepodge; Sia hurling rainbow-coloured mud at the proverbial wall in the hope something will stick. She in turn creates spectacles not just divorced from the drama but from each other, with the loosest kind of tonal consistency. These numbers have a certain eclectic je ne sais quoi but before long their randomness feels like the equivalent of the director watching TV and regularly changing the channel, as if bored by her own movie.
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? Why do all of them look like rejected Target commercials from a dystopian back-to-school campaign that was commissioned for the kids in Logan’s Run?
I saw in the dramatic scenes that center Music were, with few exceptions, so bad that I didn’t want to look at the screen when the character was on it. We’re talking about a Mickey Rooney-in-Breakfast At Tiffany’s level of wrongheadedness. A neurodivergent minstrel show.