Sadly I don’t mean the ice-cream company. I mean the singer.
Beside singing she apparently also tries to direct movies, and on the 19:th of November the trailer was released. It got a lot of backlash, because it is about “Zu is newly sober when she receives news that she is to become the sole guardian of her half-sister named Music, a young girl on the autism spectrum.” (IMDB. n.d). Sounds nice right? If done correctly this could have been a nice, heartwarming movie with good autistic representation. Sia managed to fail on the representation front without even having to release the movie. Music is played by Maddie Ziegler, who is not autisitc.
If a disabled actor is not cast to portray a disabled character, then the movie has already failed with its representation. It doesn’t matter how good the storyline is, disabled characters should always be portrayed by disabled actors.
The best thing is (/s) that Sia did originally have an autistic actor, but she found the filming environment stressful and unpleasant. So instead of changing the environment Sia hired a neurotypical instead. This is stupid and frustrating in so many ways that I can’t even write it out.
Another amazingly ironic thing she did was when she expressed her anger over the movie being judged before it could be watched. In a way Sia experienced what many autistics (and other neurodivergents) experience on a daily basis; being judged beforehand.
She claims to have done a ton of research for this movie, but she did still pair up with Autism Speaks, which is more or less an autism hate group. For example, they have no, or close to none autistic board members. Most of their money doesn’t go to helping autistics and they want to cure autism. In short, they suck and now Sia does too.
Sia did also refer to autism as a “special ability” rather than a disability. That just screams ableist to me. No one that truly respects autistics would say it gave us a special ability. I’m good at many things, but I’m also limited in many ways. You could almost say it hinders my life. Disables it even.
Now, I can’t say whether the movie is actually good or not. But I have seen the trailer and from that one minute clip, I can tell that the portrayal of autism seems stereotypical, but I guess it is nice that Music is a girl? It is also a lot of things happening all of the time and that seems kind of exhausting to watch. That’s all you will ever hear from me about the actual movie, I have no intention to see it.
I do not understand why neurotypicals insist on making movie after movie about autistics played by other neurotypicals and still acting surprised when we say we would have preferred if the actor actually was autistic.
The worst part was that it was only a movie, not a TV series as I have learned that many people, including my father, thought. I knew it was a movie from the beginning, but I still think that it would have made a great series. Partly because I wanted to spend more than two hours with Enola. Partly because I think that it would have been good for the story. It would have meant more time to develop the side characters and Enola would have gotten more time to do detection.
From time to time I would look at Millie Bobby Brown and think: She looks so young. Then I would get overjoyed. She’s a sixteen year old playing a sixteen year old!! Do you know how few shows I have watched during my teen years, where the actors were actually my age? Way too few, and I did not know how much I had wanted it until now. It made me tear up, multiple times.
To be honest I do not think that there is any reason to cast people in their twenties to play highschoolers. I know that the common answer is that it is easier for filmmakers, because child workers have to follow different laws, among others I think they aren’t allowed work for too many days in a row. And like, I get that, but I’m a teenager and an adult. If the role calls for a teenager and they don’t want to bother following extra regulations, just cast someone that is eighteen to nineteen. It is not perfect, but it is way better than having actors in their late twenties playing a sixteen year old.
When I was twelve maybe, I watched a lot of The Vampire Diaries. The main character, Elena, is supposed to be seventeen. Nina Dobrev was twenty one when the first episode aired. The same goes for most of the rest of the cast, although the men playing vampires are closer to thirty than twenty. To be fair, I have no idea how old they were supposed to have been when being turned into vampires. Anyway, twelve year old me got very high expectation of how I and my classmates would look when we were seventeen. No one lived up to it, because guess what? We looked like seventeen year olds, not twenty somethings. My skin wasn’t clear, we did not wear new outfits everyday. Life was (is) still awkward.
And my last reason: Why even make movies and shows that take place in highschool? If you just want to make a film about young attractive people dating each other, not studying, having absent parents and drinking excessively, just have them be in college. College means freedom to do all kinds of weird shit without it being too unrealistic. High school sucks enough anyway, so make high school shows to inspire teenagers and realistically portray it. Save the odd shit for college.
Enola Holmes was wonderful, and correct representation is once again necessary. It is almost like we like connecting to people like us on the screen. Here’s to hoping for more movies with Millie Bobby Brown, an actual teenager.
There is a lot one can write about representation, and this barely scratches the surface. Nevertheless it felt good to write. Please educate yourself further, perhaps starting with the links I included at the end?
There are a few things in literature and movies that I can’t stand: abusive fathers, cheating couples, love triangles. But the absolute worst one, is the unnecessary killing of LGBTQ+ characters, commonly known as “bury your gays”. So when “The Letter for the King” fell victim to that trope in the last few minutes of the first season it was as dead to me, as the gay kid was dead in the show.
The thing that makes it even more absurd is that “The Letter for the King” is very much a kids show, focusing on representation! All of the actors are of appropriate ages, not twenty-somethings playing teenagers. And they are of multiple ethnicities. The main character is black, the chosen one is female. The supporting characters are a diverse group, and when two of them, males, began a relationship the representation was at a top. The show is not only great at representation, it also deals with some heavy topics that kids need to learn about: racism, class prejudice, war and other moral questions. All important stuff! So why the fuck would they bury their gay?
Firstly, an explanation on “Bury your gays”. Bury your gays (also knowns as Dead Lesbian Syndrom) is the name of a TV trope where, kind of self explenatory, the gay (or any typ of LGBT+) character dies or have an unhappy ending (TV tropes, NDa).
The origins of this trope are awful. It comes from a time in Hollywood when the only way to portray gay people was to have them pay for their so called immorality (McConnaughy, J, 2016, 29 of Mars). This was due to the Hays Code, which banned many things considered immoral, such as nudity and sex, blasphemy, as well as interracial relationships and homosexualiy, both of which were considerd perverted! (TV tropes, NDb).
The Hays Code was made by Hollywood, but it wouldn’t have had to be a thing, if not for the fact that the US Congress were already planning to make laws for censoring films. This, due to public complaints of the “perceived lewd content of films” (TV tropes, NDb).
Nowadays there is literally no need to kill gay characters. Homosexuality is no longer seen as shameful and bad (in these parts of the world) and there is nothing stopping people from writing happy gay stories. Still, it goes on.
One example is of course “The Letter From The King”. But there is also “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, “The 100”, “Arrow”, “Brokeback Mountain” and way more tv series and movies (TV tropes, ND).
Well, now that we all know what “Bury your Gay” is; let’s talk about why it shouldn’t be done.
It’s because representation matters. It’s as simple as that. Stories have always been human things, we tell eachother things all the time. Nowadays there are stories everywhere. Not just stories we tell eachother, there are movies, books, blogs and so forth. But, what does it do to you, if the characters that are just like you, always meet a bad faith? If you can’t get a happy ending? Constant heartbreak and death? I would get pretty depressed, and I’m guessing you would too.
From personal experience, I tend to avoid autistic characters because I know that most of the time, they will be nothing like me and I’ll just be disappointed…I do not have a perfect memory. I do not like trains and I do not have that much trouble connecting with people. I would just want to see people like me, who get overwhelmed easily, don’t like eye contact, do like structure and occasionally don’t get the social context. And, you know, is a woman. How hard can it be?
That is also what I would like for others to see. Because, as Nancy Wang Yuen writes “on-screen images can shape our views of reality”(2019, 22 of May). So if all you ever see, are autistics with superpowers or just in general autistic white men (who often act like boys), then that will influence your perception of autistics. This, of course, applies for all types of representation.
Bad representation of people like me is mostly an annoyance, and a reminder of sexism. But to others, especially people of color, this is outright dangerous. If we want “Karens” to stop calling the paid murderers (Police) on black people, who are just existing, then a part of it is to stop bad representation. It will not fix centuries of systematic racism. But perhaps it will stop some “Karens” -actions and save some peoples’ lives in the end.
Good representation in movies is important both for the person being represented and for the people watching. It will not fix everything, but mixed with other “fixes” it will lead to a better, more tolerant world. Something we desperately need. Also, I just want one cool autistic woman with a well developed story line, played by an autistic woman, to look up too, please.
Representation matters. Black life matters.
Shortly after I wrote this I started having second thoughts, perhaps I was too mean, too controversial about coops. Maybe I shouldn’t have called them paid killers. But then I saw the news. On the very day that I wrote most of this text the police shot Jacob Blake, a black man, in his back eight times in front of his kids. I no longer hesitate to call them paid killers. That and the fact that Breonna Taylors killers have not been arrested, it has been over five months.
Beside my normal sources I will also link some articles.
So, I needed something to watch while taking apart my lego and it stood between Keeping up with the Kardashian or BlacKkKlansman. But, I decided to watch something with actual black people in it, and not just people profiting from their culture. BlacKkKlansman was a marvelous movie, so I’m more than happy with my decision.
BlacKkKlansman is a wild movie from start to finish. There is a lot of racism in it, making for an uncomfortable watch, but the almost unbelievably crazy plot makes up for it. When watching, I was torn between feeling horrified and immediately after laughing out loud. The fact that it is real makes it so much funnier. The marvelous 70’s setting also makes the film lighter. I think that it was a brilliant movie, it is hard to sit through a two hour long film where everything is dark and depressing. It is way easier to sit through a two hour long film if you get to laugh at the racists assholes.
My favourite part of the movie was all of the parallels, both them in the movie between the klan and the black student union. Like in one of the last scenes, where the klan was watching Birth of a nation (a really white nationalistic movie), meanwhile the student union listens to Jerome Turner (Harry Belafonte) telling the story of the lynching of Jesse Washington. That is a stark reminder of what those beliefs, that the klan has, leads to.
Even better was the parallels between the klan and present time. Like when one of the klan members says “make America great again”, the phrase made infamous by Trump. It ties the movie to present times, and helpt to make one hell of a transition. Because the movie ends with footage from the Charlottesville white supremacists march, and from the subsequent protest. It made the movie even more impactful.
Good bonus, it doesn’t suffer from with savior syndrome. Should I write about that?
First of all, they really did Rose Tico/ Kelly Marie Tran dirty, she deserved better. I liked her character in The Last Jedi, although I did not like the romantic storyline between Rose and Finn. She deserved more screen time and an actual plot. Putting her on the sidelines made it seem like Disney gave in to the online hate that Tran faced after the release of the previous movie.
Fun Fact: When I pointed this out to my dad, he was very confused over why she would have faced online-hate, sometimes my dad is very obviously a white male.
Secondly, it is very obvious that Disney is doing whatever they can to make more money. Like really, what function those D-O have in the movie. He is just another droid that Disney can mass produce and sell. Same with Babu Frik, but if I have to weigh in on the debate, baby Yoda is way cuter that Babu Frik.
Thirdly, they suck at inclusivity. That same-sex kiss in the end was a pitiful attempt to have inclusivity in their movies. Especially given how open Oscar Isaac have been on wanting Poe and Finn to get together. StormPilot should have been canon.
So what to take away from this; Disney is a cowardly company that does anything for a profit and want to get complete control of the movie market. In the end we will only have movies with the same format and that keep taunting inclusivity. If you insist on acquiring the entire market the least you can do is put out good movies.
Actual Movie Criticism, not just me hating on Disney:
Having Ben die in the end felt like an easy way out. Having the bad guy get his redemption just to kill him off is for lazy writers who don’t want to deal with characters having to face the consequences of what they did. It would most definitely have been more complicated if Ben had lived, but it would also have been more realistic and rewarding. Let’s face it, Kylo Ren is basically a Neo-Nazi, or any group akin to them. When you stop being an extremist the things you did don’t just disappear. It’s things that has to be lived with. It would have been much more current if Ben had also been forced to live with the consequences.
Rey having an ImPoRTanT and PoWErful grandfather was Bad. It took away that “anyone can be powerful, even if you don’t have a family”. Which is the thing that differated Rey from other main character in the Star Wars saga. Luke came from an already established lineage, and his father, Anakin was basically space Jesus. Rey nobodyness made her unique and relatable.
Last but not least, very little of this movie felt original. It was mostly a retelling of Return of the Jedi. It was fun, but not exiting.
Now, onto the fun parts:
When I was in third grade the boys in my class used to play Star Wars, this was before I had watched any of the movies. The same guy always played the Emperor, and that guy had curly hair. So for some reason I thought that the Emperor also had curly hair. I was very disappointed when he was bald. Having the Emperor as the main antagonist brings back these feelings of disappointment.
Something that I’m really sad that we didn’t get to see, is the interaction between Ben Solo and general Hux. I’m laughing just thinking about it. A redeemed Ben and the man that betrayed him and the first order. He can’t be mad about it, because he is no longer with the first order, but I don’t think that he would have been happy either. It would have been hilarius. Also, general Hux was probably the funniest character in this movie.
Other good parts includes but are not limited to:
The time Kylo Ren and Rey played tug of war with a transporter ship.
The implications that the Emperor had sex.
The vision Rey had, of her and Kylo on the Sith throne together. The throne was a tiny one, they would have had to be sitting really close together, or one would have to be sitting in the other person’s lap.
The fact that the Emperor was so salty over being thrown down a hole that he did the same to Ben.