Sia’s New Movie “Music” Is  Facing Criticism 

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Carly Woodfield, Staff Writer

Sia, famous for her hit songs, “Cheap Thrills” and “Chandelier” is now making a movie called “Music.”  This new movie features Maddie Ziegler, a former “Dance Moms” star and someone Sia has worked with in her music for years. The movie will also be featuring ten new songs by Sia. Music is about a recently sober girl named Zu who is given the responsibility to become a guardian for her half sister who is autistic. Throughout the movie the theme of finding your voice and constructing family is developed. 

Sia quickly received backlash and criticism of her movie because of how she portrayed autism. People with disabilities felt this role could have been played by an actual person on the autism spectrum to better portray autism. One actor, Bronagh Waugh, tweeted directly at Sia saying, “It’s pretty offensive the way you’ve chosen to portray this character. People with disabilities are not broken and don’t need fixing.” This demonstrates the way some people are handling the situation and believe it was very offensive to people with disabilities. I think many people would see Waugh’s point that disabled people are not broken or need fixing, but without seeing the movie yet, I cannot tell if the portrayal was inappropriate or not. 

Furthermore, Sia responded to Waugh pretty much explaining how she felt it would be cruel and not kind to cast someone of her level of functioning and affected her decision to cast Maddie. This was her way of showing love to the community. Another response from Sia communicated that she “tried working with a beautiful young girl non verbal on the spectrum and she found it was unpleasant and stressful.” I believe the fact that Sia did show an effort to work with a girl who has autism shows that she did want to do that but it worked out better for her movie to cast someone easier to work with who she believed would portray the character in the way she wanted. Many people believe that Sia’s movie is promoting negative stereotypes and is not realistic since the actor is not autistic. 

Sia went back and forth with people throwing their criticism at her and received a lot of hate for her decision to not use an actor on the spectrum. Overall, I believe that since it is her movie she should be able to make the executive decisions and do what she believes is best to portray the message to the world that she is conveying in the movie. In today’s era, people are unhappy with decisions you make and you will never be able to please all audiences, so that is why it is important to do what you feel is the best decision for you instead of trying to please everyone else because that is unrealistic. 

“Music” will be coming out on Feb. 10, 2021 and will be available to watch for audiences targeted at ages 13 and older on IMAX. By watching the trailer I was intrigued and thought the movie looked interesting and fun. I would recommend watching “Music” so you can decide for yourself if you think Sia should have received backlash or not, and also to enjoy a new movie that has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards.