Música Image


By Alan Ng | April 30, 2024

In life, we must constantly be growing, evolving, and maturing. Rudy Mancuso dons multiple hats in the story of a young man struggling to take his talent “higher” in his musical feature, Música.

Rudy Mancuso plays Rudy, a young man from Newark at a crossroads in life, having to choose between being an artist or being the adult that everyone expects him to be. Driven by his mother, Maria (Maria Mancuso), he left behind his life busking by the subway, performing a musical puppet, and tries to find a real career. At the same time, Rudy is dating the affluent Haley (Francesca Reale), who also wants him to take his future seriously and breaks up with him when he can’t.

As mother Maria tries to set him up on dates with more down-to-earth Brazilian girls, Rudy bumps into Isabella (Camila Mendes), who sees Rudy as the talented artist that he is. Rudy is soon torn in many directions, but with the help of his boss, Anwar (JB Smoove), he finally gets a chance to make sense of his life.

Música plays out with a tried-and-true foundation for a coming-of-age romance. A boy in search of himself struggling through the pressures of love, family, and his Brazilian culture. The easy road is to go along with what his mother and girlfriend Haley want or he can take the more uncertain course to find a way to make it with his musical puppet show. His chance meeting with Isabella becomes a catalyst for change.

“…a young man from Newark at a crossroads in life, having to choose between being an artist or being the adult that everyone expects him to be.”

In Música, the protagonist Rudy experiences a fascinating condition known as synesthesia. He perceives life’s rhythms, whether walking down the street, in the subway terminal, or at work. For instance, while dining in a diner, the sounds of utensils on plates and spatulas on grills inspire a percussive choreography among the employees and patrons. Similarly, while traversing the subway tunnel, a busker named Andy Muschietti serves as Rudy’s Greek chorus, commenting on Rudy’s state of mind.

For most of the film, we find ourselves trying to pull Rudy out of the doldrums of life. Where Música shines light is through Rudy’s chemistry with Camila Mendes as Isabella. Mendes radiates goodness on screen as she plays not just the girl of Rudy’s dreams but also the kind of person he aspires to be.

Along with Mendes, another highlight is the music of Música. The film’s music brings hope and liveliness to Rudy. The movie has surreal moments, such as a puppet show revealing Rudy’s issues and a theatrically staged love triangle showdown with moving sets that effectively bring it home.

Still, the story is low energy. Rudy has a long way to go in finding himself…almost too long. The puppet elements also need a bit more energy to be interesting and taken seriously. That said, life and love are like a song, and Música will have you falling in love with your toes tappin’ and knees slappin’.

Música (2024)

Directed: Rudy Mancuso

Written: Rudy Mancuso, Dan Lagana

Starring: Rudy Mancuso, Camila Mendes, Francesca Reale, JB Smoove, Maria Mancuso, etc.

Movie score: 7.5/10

Música Image

"…The film's music brings hope and liveliness..."

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