Will Sia Face the Music?
Image Source: MUSIC via Billboard
A few weeks ago, musical artist Sia released the trailer for her upcoming film, Music, which tells the story of a young autistic girl who finds herself as the caretaker for her newly sober sister. According to a press release shared with Variety, the film is meant to showcase “a wholly original exploration of the healing power of love and the importance of community.” While this seems like a harmless, earnest movie, Sia has been the subject of mass criticism across the country for her choice to cast Maddie Ziegler, a completely able-bodied teenager, to play the nonverbal autistic lead.
Autism activists took to social media to vent their frustrations, and Sia immediately went on the defense. In the days following the release of the trailer, more and more people voiced their disapproval of the film, and a petition was even started to cancel the release. Sia grew more irritable in her responses to backlash on social media, encouraging her critics to watch the movie before commenting on it.
The film, which also stars Kate Hudson and Leslie Odom Jr., is scheduled for release in early 2021. Though this is certainly not the first time a person with autism has been represented by a non-disabled person in film and TV, it ignites an important conversation about the portrayal of disability in the media. It will be interesting to see the response the film receives once people watch it — if they do, that is.
Posted by Sophie