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April 4, 2024 / Prime Video

Starring: Rudy Mancuso, Camila Mendes, Francesca Reale, Maria Mancuso, J.B. Smoove

Directed By: Rudy Mancuso

Based on writer, director and star Rudy Mancuso, Música is a coming-of-age love story that follows an aspiring creator with synesthesia, who must come to terms with an uncertain future, while navigating the pressures of love, family and his Brazilian culture in Newark, New Jersey. When he meets a young lady (Camila Mendes) working in a fish store, she helps him change his outlook on life.

Written By Darren Zakus

Rating 3.5 out of 5

Música had a wonderful mix of percussive music, energetic dance breaks, Brazilian culture and all the fun of the coming of age and romantic comedy genre, that with the performances and swoon worthy chemistry between writer, director and lead star Rudy Mancuso and Camilla Mendes, makes for another great addition to the romantic comedy genre.

You may not know the name Rudy Mancuso, but if you hit play on Amazon Prime Video’s latest film Musica, you will instantly learn his name. While best known on YouTube channel and his music, Rudy Mancuso is making his directorial and written film debut with the latest coming of age/romantic comedy film Música, in which he also stars in the lead role. In terms of debuts, it's a great effort that lets his creative juices flow as he mixes elements of two beloved genres, spices things up with his Brazilian heritage, and adds a unique musical flare to the entire production that not only makes for one refreshing film, but continues the strong streak of romantic comedies we have recently been enjoying.

When audiences think of musicals, they think of extravagant dance choreography and Broadway calibre singing. There is without question a musical element to Música, but it’s a unique approach to the genre. Instead of singing and extravagant dancing, everyday sounds turn into percussive dance moments throughout the film, which are shot within a changing aspect ratio to capture the feel of a music video. It’s all tied to synesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon that both Rudy Mancuso and the fictional version of himself in the film have, and it creates a refreshing approach to the musical numbers. The music itself is composed by Rudy Mancuso, and there are so many brilliant compositions that energize the film’s story. Using these moments to invite us into the mind of our main character, the story plays out as a sweet coming of age story inspired by Rudy Mancuso’s own life. There is a fun romantic comedy element to it as he falls in love with Camilla Mendes’s Isabella while trying to remove himself from his current relationship, all while dealing with his overbearing Brazilian mother and trying to make it as an artist. While the story is familiar enough, the screenplay from Rudy Mancuso and his co-writing partner Dan Lagana is packed from start to finish with heartwarming moments, great laughter, touching romance and an uplifting and hopeful ending, which makes it impossible to not be won over by Música.

Helping to bolster the performances from the main cast. Rudy Mancuso himself is an infectious bundle of creative energy and he hits all the right notes, balancing light humour, deeper emotional tones to his character, and an endearing romance that proves him one talented actor. Mendes continues her streak of good performances in the romantic comedy genre after this year’s Upgraded. There is a tenderness and strength that Mendes naturally brings to the role, making Isabella a great female leading character who knows exactly what she wants, and what she is willing to put up with or not. Her romantic chemistry with Rudy Mancuso is excellent as the two of them light up the screen with the fireworks going off between them, which should be no surprise as the two stars are now dating in real life. Though, it is Maria Mancuso, Rudy Mancuso’s real life mother, who stars as his character’s mother who steals the show. In her film debut, Maria Mancuso has a wicked comedic timing with a seriousness and caring that only a mother can possess, as she attempts to set her son up with a good Brazilian girl, constantly looking out for his heart and wellness… while taking jabs at him while doing so.

Music has always been intertwined with cinema, having a power over audiences just as commanding as a film’s story or visuals. While audiences think they may know what a musical is given the countless classics in the genre to grace the silver screen over the decades, Rudy Mancuso proves there is uncharted territory within the genre and unleashes his inner creative talents in his new film. Not only does Música redefine what a musical number in a film can be while shining a spotlight on synesthesia, it possesses all the beloved hallmarks of both a coming of age tale and a romantic comedy to create an enjoyable film from start to finish. Thanks not only to the excellent lead performances of Rudy Mancuso and Camila Mendes and a scene stealing turn by Maria Mancuso but a great screenplay, Música is a joyful celebration of Brazilian culture, love and music in a talented debut film from Rudy Mancuso that not only shows his great promise as a filmmaker, but is an absolutely delightful experience that must be enjoyed by all.

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