Ugh. Never have I ever seen a celebrity try and show how great they are and how progressive th- actually that’s all celebrities seem to do these days. Fair play to them, if I was rich I probably wouldn’t give a shit either.
I know a lot of people are upset about how the person playing the titular character is not Autistic. Personally that’s not my problem with it. My problem with this trailer is that, the girl portraying her is Maddie Ziegler who is a young reality star with very little acting experience playing a young girl with a disability because in the trailer at least, she portrays her like some drunk with two cans of Stella that makes an ‘autistic’ impression in poor taste that is ultimately amusing but not to be shared with the world.
Unfortunately a lot of people are jumping on the “don’t be an SJW” bandwagon saying that “everyone is too sensitive nowadays” but for myself who detests cancel culture and still honestly believes that Sia has every right to make these films regardless of how shitty they seem, sucks. The problem for me is not that Maddie Ziegler is not autistic, the problem for me is that a non-professional actor is portraying a severely autistic girl.
I honestly would have felt better if this was an edgy joke film played by people mimicking stereotypical autistic traits. Comedy and humour can be both hilarious and used in a good way to spread awareness about autism stereotypes etc. But this film is supposed to be a serious piece of art that is to be hailed as stunning and brave.
The difference between Freddie Highmore and Dakota Fanning’s portrayals of autistic people in film and TV compared to Maddie Ziegler in this trailer is that a) Maddie Ziegler is not an actress. The others have acting experience and manage to portray realistic and therefore inoffensive characters. From the trailer the character “Music” is acted by Ziegler the way I would expect someone would behave to mock a person with autism. I have no problem with Ziegler ultimately she is just a young girl working with her godmother but she is not autistic or an actress.
Of course autism is a spectrum and some have more needs than others but the way that “Music” is portrayed at least from the trailer is just angering. It’s almost like she’s channeling Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder. Actually that’s exactly what it kind of looks like.
Her responses to the criticism begs two questions. One: I get being defensive but Jesus Christ Sia, harsh! And Two: Who the hell is her PR person and why the hell are they not stopping her from tweeting?
Now I’m not saying that Maddie Ziegler or Sia are intentionally doing this, I don’t think that. However I do think Maddie Ziegler and Sia do not have the acting/directorial ability to portray a semi-decent example of an autistic person.
This also may be petty of me to say – but this is my blog so I can be as goddamn petty as I want without detracting from my original valid arguments. For me personally there is something very sad about a girl roughly my age who is seen wearing makeup, pretty, surrounded by people who she can communicate to without fear of rejection and someone who is able to stop acting autistic when the camera stops that hurts me. The difference to this compared to the other non-autistic actors is just that, they are professional actors. My saying of this however is purely personal and is of no value to this argument or the honest to God points I’ve made.
Well I’ve said my piece. I still like Sia’s songs and ultimately like the singer but she is being very childish in her response to criticisms on Twitter and in her attempt at “raising awareness”, she has so far only made me cringe.
No-one will believe this but I’m going to say it anyway because it is true. I honestly hope that this trailer is just bad and that the movie is good. And hey, I could be completely wrong and the film is tasteful and fun. But if it’s not then I will have so many self-deprecating jokes to make about myself that will be a blast anyway. So either way I win.