There’s been a lot of talk about this movie. Maybe, maybe too much talk. The glutton for punishment/masochist/curiosity seeker in me will often make time for horrible movies, just so I can say I did it. And the incessant vitriol against Sia’s new film Music made it impossible for me to resist. But absolutely nothing could have prepared me. This is next level terrible. The kind of thing that makes me question whether or not film, music or any kind of art in general is even worth continuing to pursue in this crazy world.
But obviously, that’s going too far. It’s a 108 minute artistic failure that is beyond offensive on innumerable levels. And with all the reading I’ve done on this movie, I’m going to go ahead and say something no one seems to want to say. While casting a neurotypical actor in this title role in 2021 is bad, or at the very least extremely risky, I feel people wouldn’t be quite as upset about it if she had done a decent job.
But she doesn’t. At all.
Maddie Ziegler is absolutely toxic in her performance here. She is a ‘Simple Jack’-level parody on par with the most viciously cruel elementary school classmates of mine. There is no inner life to her character at all. Nothing but stereotypical nods and tics that are practically vomit inducing. She’s so awful, that it honestly makes the rest of this ridiculous movie seem okay by comparison. Every time Kate Hudson shares a seemingly genuine moment with Leslie Odom Jr., we cut back to her and want to look away from the screen as quickly as possible.
I know, she was only a 17 year old child when she made this. And ultimately as the director, Sia is the one responsible. For casting her in the first place, and for believing a performance like this could possibly be acceptable. But Ziegler deserves plenty of blame too. This is what Razzie Awards should be used for. Not Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades Of Grey.
I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. The whole enterprise is shallow and utterly devoid of substance. Sometimes an actor like Ben Schwartz, Hector Elizondo or Tig Notaro jump in to remind us that some actors are great enough to rise above threadbare material and create a vivid character life with very little screentime. But they’re few and far between. We still have to deal with three horrendous lead actors who apparently never once stopped to take a moment and ask if this was a good idea.
Yes, I’m mad. And yes, I’m done. Do not watch this movie. Maddie Ziegler, Sia, stay in your lanes.