Is Music a True Story?

‘Music’ is a heartwarming tale of an autistic young girl named Music (Maddie Ziegler) who filters life through the tunes seeping in from her headphones, which happen to be her constant companion. Music is an extension of her personality and everything that she is. The story kicks off with Music living with her grandmother in a friendly neighborhood. But after she passes away, Music’s estranged half-sister Zu (Kate Hudson) is called upon to take charge as her new caretaker.

As a recovering drug addict, Zu’s life is already in shambles, and taking responsibility for another one seems like a burden that she cannot lift. However, their kindhearted neighbors Ebo (Leslie Odom Jr.) and George (Héctor Elizondo) show up, and together, they exist as a team. ‘Music’ is a movie that takes the audiences in a contemplative zone, and Music’s emotional story tugs at the heartstrings. If you’re wondering whether the story of ‘Music’ is gleaned from a real-life incident, we’ve got your back.

Is Music Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Music’ is not based on a true story. Although it touches upon relatable themes like family drama, death, drug abuse, etc., the emotional heaviness of the movie does not mean the story is rooted in reality. The movie stands as the directorial debut of pop artist Sia, who has also co-written the story along with children’s book author Dallas Clayton. It is also peppered with uplifting musical performances by the cast members as Sia’s beautiful voice powerfully surges through the songs.

Sia admitted to having taken a considerable amount of time going through the filmed pieces to make sure the finished product retains its artistic integrity. The themes depicted in the movie might be compared to Rolf de Heer’s 1998 Australian film, ‘Dance Me to My Song,’ a moving drama about living with cerebral palsy. It stars Heather Rose, who was born with severe cerebral palsy. Her character in the movie is also living with the same. Rose gives her character a shine that feels soothing and deeply authentic at the same time.

Although Ziegler does not bear any real-life resemblance to her character Music in any way, her depiction of the character is cinematically touching. As per what reports suggest, music therapy may help people with autism improve communication skills, behavior, cognition, perceptual/motor skills, and self-reliance or self-determination, apart from other benefits. The therapist finds musical experiences that strike a chord with a particular patient, making personal connections and building trust.

Family-centered music therapy can strengthen parent-child relationships. People falling within the autism spectrum are naturally more interested in and responsive to music because of its melodic nature. Since music is characteristically engaging, it can draw in desired responses from such people. It can also help those overwhelmed by excessive sensory stimuli, owing to the sensitive and minimalistic nature of certain types of music. The movie reflects the same idea through Music’s deep attachment to her headphones, which help her cope with life.

In the film, Music is a non-speaking autistic teenager. In the case of ordinary people who quite effortlessly pick up on verbal exchanges or speech, this process does not readily develop in children with autism. Echolalia, an echoing or imitation of speech sounds, is the basis of all kinds of language learning, which is substituted by musical echolalia in autistic children. Since music is more meaningful than language for them, musical echolalia may bridge the communication gap between non-verbal children with autism and their loved ones.

Music’s love for music also makes way for a spectacular series of musical interludes that are undoubtedly the movie’s best moments. The idea of introducing a grand exhibit of theatrical performances to break up a film’s predictability is adopted by the movie, reminiscent of major productions such as the daydream sequences in the old and new versions of ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,’ ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ and ‘La La Land‘ that captivates the viewers in a fantastical dream-like state of existence. Even though ‘Music’ is not conceived from a real-life incident, it is replete with elements that appeal and speak to the audience.

Read More: Where Was Music Filmed?