The trailer does not explain why Music does not speak and makes no direct mention of her disability, but when another commenter asked the singer -- who also wrote the script and 10 original songs for the accompanying album -- "did you do any research or consult the community at all?," suggesting it was "very condescending" to say it would be "cruel" to consult a disabled actor, Sia explained her process for prepping for the film.
"Duh. I spent three f---ing years researching," she said, later adding that she was confused at the pushback since the character is entirely based on her neuro-atypical friend in response to another commenter who asked why it would be "cruel" to cast someone with the character's abilities in place of Sia's longtime foil/video avatar Ziegler. "He found it too stressful being non verbal, and I made this movie with nothing but love for him and his mother," Sia wrote of the unnamed friend Music was modeled on in pushing back against a number of tweets decrying what commenters said was ableism on the singer's part. "I think that's why I'm so f---ing bummed."
She later noted that there are "thirteen people on the spectrum in the movie," writing "F---ing bull--it. You have no f--king idea because you weren't there and haven''t seen the movie." The National Autism Society also weighed in, saying Sia has, "got this one wrong. There are so many talented autistic actors out there – like Saskia, Alex, Max, and Holly who starred in our #AutismTMI films."
There were, of course, also a number of people who praised Sia for representing autism on the screen. "The way these people speak when they have no idea about how the movie presents the autism , so stupid She is trying to give other messages She's not trying to say that people with special abilities are broken She's saying that they are special and have their beautiful perspectiv," wrote one, with another adding, "where was that negative energy when netflix released atypical with main character played by non autistic person? where is that negative energy when gay characters are played by straight people ALL THE TIME?"
Sia also noted in the replies that she had two people on the spectrum advising her at all times and that she believes "the movie is both a love letter to caregivers and to the autism community... I believe this movie is beautiful, Will create more good than harm and if I'm wrong I'll pay for it for the rest of my life."
Check out the comments and the trailer below.