Sia’s Movie “Music”

Starla Marcelo and Anhad Singh

On February 12th, 2021, Sia’s movie, “Music,” came out, disgusting viewers everywhere. The film is about a young woman named Zu, who is newly sober when she learns that she is now the caretaker of her half-sister Music, who is autistic. Many people found hundreds of things wrong with the movie, as it contains terrible portrayal of autism, racial stereotyping, and much more. It tries to tackle too many problems at once, and fails at portraying all of them. One of the main issues is that Music isn’t even the main character, Zu is, yet Music is the face on all of the attractions for the movie. She is only there to help Zu “grow” as a person- and to gain brownie points for Sia, which horribly backfired. This is a classic “neurotypical savior” trope, which is commonly used in the media. 

A second point is that Music is portrayed like a caricature of a person with autism. She spends most of the film with wide eyes, a massive grin, listening to music on her headphones while performing dance numbers that look like Sia’s videos. This itself is incredibly offensive. In addition, in one scene Music chases a light like a cat, making her seem more like a cat than a human. She is shown with magical abilities. They infantilize the autistic, making them seem like whimsical beings, rather than humans. 

Another thing that people hated was that Maddie Ziegler, a neurotypical person, was cast for the role of a person on the spectrum. Sia defended this by saying, “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.” @HelenAngel on Twitter spoke on how several autistic actors, including herself, all said how they could have acted on short notice. She says, “The fact of the matter is zero effort was made to include anyone who is actually autistic.” To which Sia responded with “Maybe you’re just a bad actor.” Ziegler supposedly told Sia on the first day of filming, “I don’t want anyone to think I’m making fun of them.” as well as crying. I believe that this movie was not Ziegler’s choice, and because she was at such a young age when it was filmed, she could have been influenced highly by Sia who is her godmother.

Not only did they do all of this, but the musical scene, “Oh Body” was incredibly ableist AND racist. They create a caricature of autistic people and act in an overly exaggerated manner.  Music’s hair-do is done up tightly in several thing braids which are then tied into buns, and her foundation is far too dark for her skin tone. This is classified as black fishing, which is racist. 

In the end, “Music” is a movie that doesn’t deserve your time or money. The 107 minute film is incredibly offensive and is simply 107 minutes too long. 

Works Cited

Seitz, Matt Zoller. “Music Movie Review & Film Summary (2021): Roger Ebert.” Movie Review & Film Summary (2021) | Roger Ebert,

Willman, Chris. “Sia Engages in Fiery Twitter Debate With Disability Activists Over Autism-Themed Film.” Variety, Variety, 21 Nov. 2020,