Although its colorful, trippy song-and-dance numbers could delight fans of Sia and her talented cast, this movie is ultimately over-the-top and borderline offensive. Music has been loudly criticized for its depiction of prone restraint to subdue someone with autism: It's portrayed here as a common technique for handling Music but is actually dangerous, traumatic, and in some cases even lethal. There's also the fact that Ziegler, who's a neurotypical dancer-turned-actor, as well as Sia's self-described muse, was cast to play Music instead of a neurodiverse performer. But even worse is the way that Music has little agency in her own story outside of her reveries. She's yet another disappointing example of a marginalized character whose sole purpose is to change another character for the better -- in this case, Zu. Meanwhile, Ebo narrowly escapes another stereotype as a saintly, almost magical Black man whose chief goal seems to be to help the White sisters down the hall.
Hudson plays against type rather unconvincingly (even with the shaved head and wardrobe mostly consisting of sports bras and cut-off shorts). She does the peppy, life-of-the-party parts right but isn't believable as a gritty recovering addict who still sells drugs for quick cash. Ziegler is wonderful in the dance sequences, but her performance as Music is difficult to watch. There's a wrongness to the entire film that goes beyond the discussion of able-bodied or neurotypical actors taking away jobs from disabled or neurodiverse performers. For a much more insightful and poignant exploration of nonverbal autistic young adults, skip this and watch The Reason I Jump instead. Sia, no doubt, will survive the criticism of Music and go on to make another musical that's zany, colorful, and meaningful; this, however, is not it.