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67. Music; movie review

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Title : 67. Music; movie review
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Cert 12
108 mins
BBFC advice: Contains domestic abuse, bloody images, drug references, infrequent strong language

First things first - I have absolutely no doubt that Sia was well-intentioned when she made Music.
Unfortunately, as she has recently admitted, she was misinformed or simply not well enough read or possibly a combination of both.
Consequently, after initially robustly defending her movie's handling of autism, she apologised for it over Twitter and then deleted her account.
But Music's controversy will not go away yet because it has been nominated twice for a Golden Globe by the judges from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
Presumably, that means their knowledge of such a widely diagnosed condition is on a par with Sia's.
Indeed, I can't quite fathom why no-one from the cast to the studio executives questioned the portrayal of the title character, played by Maddie Ziegler.
I ended up feeling sorry for the teenager who must be wounded by the avalanche of criticism.
The scenes which have caused the furore surround Music being restrained while in a state of distress.
But they aren't the only off-key elements to Sia's debut movie.
It stars Kate Hudson as Zu, a drug and drink addict who emerges as the only one to look after her autistic half-sister after the death of their grandmother.
Music is unable to communicate and suffers episodes of great distress if she is taken out of her routine.
Zu is the last person who should care for her because, in her own words, she cannot look after herself.
She finds an ally in a Ghanaian neighbour (John Odom jr) who brings a calmness to her chaotic world.
Inevitably, however, Zu struggles to break out of old habits while also trying to change the ingrained behaviour of her autistic sister.
This leads to upset and the aforementioned restraint scenes.
Equally jarring are Sia's strange attempts to combine pop videos with a serious narrative.
So, suddenly, we will flick away from the storyline to see Ziegler, Hudson and Odom jr, in flamboyant, dreamlike choreography.
These require a mind more open than mine to understand the connection to the plot.
Sia even appears in the movie herself - as a pop star who makes a bizarre order for drugs from the hapless Zu.
On the plus side, Hudson gives it her best shot and, through her singing, we see a new strand to her considerable talents.
And by the end of Music, I was feeling pity rather than anger towards Sia. She had set out on a project which I presume she felt would break down barriers artistically and with regard to disabled people.
Instead, she is probably regretting being involved in the film at all.

Reasons to watch: Kate Hudson gives it her best shot
Reasons to avoid: Its depiction of autism is cringeworthy

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None 
Overall rating: 4.5/10

Did you know? There are many autistic actors but among the most famous are Dan Aykroyd, Anthony Hopkins and Daryl Hannah

The final word. Sia: "I plan to remove the restraint scenes from all future printings. I listened to the wrong people and that is my responsibility, my research was clearly not thorough enough, not wide enough," 

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