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Amazon MGM Studios
“Música” is a romantic comedy starring Rudy Mancuso and Camila Mendes that came out on April 4 on Amazon Prime Video. The movie was based on Mancuso’s real life and detailed his experience as a Brazilian-American with synesthesia. Photo courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios.

[Review] ‘Música’ brilliantly explores love, life and Brazilian culture

The film “Música,” a romantic comedy, came out on April 4, 2024, on Amazon Prime Video. The movie depicts the life of a Brazilian-American with synesthesia who is trying to manage his complicated relationships. While it failed to create a complete story with its characters, “Música” portrayed the condition of synesthesia as well as the Brazilian-American experience in a charming yet accurate fashion.

“Música” is directed by American musician and social media influencer Rudy Mancuso. It stars Mancuso, who plays himself, and Camila Mendes as Isabella, who plays his primary love interest.

The film is based on Mancuso’s real life and underscores his personal struggles with synesthesia. Synesthesia is a neurological condition in which information meant to stimulate one sense stimulates several senses. For Mancuso, that is reflected in his unique ability to feel shapes and see music–a constant struggle for him throughout the movie.

“Música” begins with Rudy at a dinner with his girlfriend Haley, played by Francesca Reale. Haley criticizes Rudy for his indifference towards their planned future together. Rudy is distracted by the sounds in this environment due to his synesthesia however and struggles to listen to her. Haley then breaks up with him.

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The bright lights, loud voices, and overall sensory overdrive in this scene was displayed perfectly. It allowed viewers to get a raw glimpse into synesthesia and truly understand what it feels like to those who experience it.

The breakup sends the Brazilian virtuoso into a spiral. He has not begun considering stable career options because he wants to do what he loves–making music and doing puppetry. The Ironbound, his Brazilian community in Newark, New Jersey, also feels too small for him to accomplish his dreams.

“Música” was a showcase for Brazilian culture, one not often depicted in Hollywood movies. From the nods at various Brazilian foods to the occasional language changes to Portuguese, the movie emphasizes the beauty of preserving heritage and being proud of one’s roots.

After Haley breaks up with him, Rudy’s mother, played by Maria Mancuso, tries introducing him to Brazilian girls in their neighborhood. She wants her son to marry within their culture. Rudy rejects his mother’s meddling in his love life but does end up meeting his own Brazilian love interest, Isabella.

From the start of the movie, the movie addresses the cultural conflicts that come with dating outside one’s own race. It accurately portrays the discomfort, lack of understanding and barrier that can stand between the two parties in their relationship.

Isabella’s love for the Ironbound inspires Rudy to stay in the neighborhood after graduation. The two come to develop an electric connection. They spend time together at the park in the mornings and at restaurants in the evenings. It is on these dates that Rudy explains his synesthesia to Isabella.

In one scene following a date, Isabella puts her hands on Rudy’s ears, muffling the sounds around him. This allows him to tap out of his synesthesia and focus solely on her. Although Isabella does not fully understand Rudy, this scene sweetly portrays the patience and compassion with which she approaches his condition as opposed to Haley.

Rudy’s budding romance with Isabella is disrupted when Haley asks him to give her another chance. Rudy, unable to communicate his feelings for Isabella, accepts Haley’s request which marks the start of an awkward and uncomfortable love triangle.

Eventually, Rudy agrees to a date with Haley at one of his favorite Brazilian restaurants. Isabella is at the same restaurant, picking up takeout, and both girls find out that Rudy has been dating them at the same time. Rudy tries explaining that he was trying to break up with Haley to be with Isabella, but both women are disgusted and leave the restaurant.

“Música” portrays the importance of communication and the issues that can arise when one fails to communicate in a relationship. Regardless of the fact that Rudy did not know how to tell Haley about Isabella, he still owed her the truth and should have figured it out. The consequences Rudy faces as a result of his lack of communication parallels real life, providing viewers with a sense of how valuable communicating with one’s partner is.

Rudy tries to apologize to Isabella by serenading her with an original song, but she shuts him down quickly as she is still angry with him. Isabella tells Rudy he needs to figure his life out before they pursue a romantic relationship again.

After his breakup with Isabella, the movie features a montage of Rudy reliving the same life over and over again. It portrays the monotony of his life and helps him realize what he needs to change about it. These scenes are a delightful reference to the actor’s most popular YouTube video, Circle of Love.

“Música” ends with Rudy putting on a puppet show in front of a packed audience. Though he used to perform with his puppets in the subway as people mindlessly passed him by, Rudy finally found his path. After this performance, Rudy is given a takeout box in his dressing room from none other than Isabella. Inside the takeout box are the words “You took it higher.”

The ending of the film was rather quick and unsatisfying. Although it is implied, viewers have no knowledge of whether Rudy and Isabella got back together again, or what happened to Haley. Their story was cut short, and the movie failed to create a complete narrative.

Overall, “Música” is an interesting depiction of the world through the lens of Mancuso. Despite its weak ending, it provided an eye-opening depiction of synesthesia. It also served as a vibrant representation of Brazilian culture and addressed the conflicts that can arise in intercultural relationships.

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About the Contributor
Lydia Varghese
Lydia Varghese, Reporter
Lydia Varghese is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She is a first-year reporter. She enjoys writing and listening to music.
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