‘Musica’ a Magical World of Music, Comedy, Love - Movie Review - 96five Family Radio

‘Musica’ a Magical World of Music, Comedy, Love – Movie Review

'Musica' is Rudy Mancuso's semi-autobiographical tale of a young man with synesthesia growing up in Newark, New Jersey.

By Russ MatthewsMonday 13 May 2024MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

Music has been an integral part of cinematic history. 

Before the introduction of ‘talkies’, organs or pianos would complement the visual spectacle on screen. Yet, since sound was incorporated into the industry, music continued to be an essential aspect of storytelling’s effectiveness. Then, as music emerged from the background and entered the front of the house in the form of musicals, the marriage of music and cinema established an inseparable bond.

Writer/musician/director Rudy Mancuso takes this union to a new level as he tells a semi-autobiographical tale of a young man with synesthesia (constant music in his head) growing up in Newark, New Jersey. As he tries to make his way as a musician, puppeteer, and street performer, Rudy attempts to finish his marketing degree to honour his mother and girlfriend, Haley (Francesca Reale). Until the day he meets Isabella (Camila Mendes) at the local fish market, his senses are literally knocked into him. Suddenly, the young artist must decide what to do with his life and who will speak into his future. With his mother (Maria Mancuso) and Anwar (J.B. Smoove) the local food truck owner, whispering their own wisdom in his ear, Rudy must follow his heart, the music or everyone else’s expectations.

Audiences do not have to be music fans to fall in love with this film. Rudy Mancuso’s debut is a refreshing look into the world of music and life. His storytelling involves modern storytelling that shows how every aspect of one’s world connects to the sounds surrounding you. As he weaves music into the drama, this experience is less musical and more an immersion into how his mind processes his daily walk. The comedy and romantic elements all hit the right notes, especially with the inclusion of his actual mother, who adds spice to his Brazilian heritage and homelife. As the dialogue moves quickly through each scene, every musical number and relational combination has a purpose. Even the quirky puppeteering segments make this film move so smoothly that viewers will be surprised when the curtain closes, leaving them yearning for more.

Musica is a film worth discovering, enjoying, and tapping along with as it sweeps you away into a magical world of music, comedy, and love.

Sometimes, you don’t need to say anything at all

As Rudy travels through life as an artist who constantly hears music in his heart and mind. His on-screen presence is impossible to miss, as much of what he has to say can only be expressed through song. Fascinatingly, his synesthesia proves to be a blessing instead of a curse. In many ways, he sees his inner music as a distraction that keeps him from focussing on those around him. Yet, in the end, it proves to be an influential force that has the potential to change his life and those around him if he follows the music. Rudy blesses the people in his life and, simultaneously, the audience through his actions and mere existence.

‘But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.’ 1 Peter 3:4

One of the greatest struggles throughout our lives is finding the right thing to say in any situation. What most people forget is that sometimes less is more. Words have value, but many times actions do ‘speak louder than words.’ If your words fail you when trying to serve others, it can be worthwhile to give good deeds a try and let the talk follow. Words and actions can be a winning combination. Yet, sometimes, simple acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on you and your community.

‘But be doers of the word, and not hearers only…’ James 1:22

If you would like to discuss themes from Musica, reach out to us at Third Space. We would love to chat with you about this and more.


Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.

All images: Movie stills

About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.