Movies like Música: Rudy Mancuso’s “Música” is a new refreshing coming-of-age romantic comedy that works because of its quirky set pieces. It follows a Brazilian-American aspiring musician who spends most of his days doing puppet shows for a thankless audience. Since his passion doesn’t help him earn much, he needs to find a way to make a living. Meanwhile, his romantic life goes through a rough patch. He needs to contemplate between his long-time girlfriend & his new crush.

While following a coming-of-age tale of an immigrant child, ‘“Música” explores the themes of race, culture clash, love, and ambition. Although a musical, it doesn’t follow the usual song-and-dance routine formula. Instead, it takes us through the creative process of this budding artist, who picks up the sounds around him and builds compositions. If you’re specifically interested in that manner of music creation, you can check out the works of British rapper M.I.A. or Indian composer Sneha Khanwalkar, who used sound recordings for their experimental compositions.

If you liked “Música” because it is a musical, there are plenty of options available to watch. There are recent vibrant entries like Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” Blitz Bazawule’s “The Colour Purple,” and Damien Chazelle’s much-loved “La La Land.” But listing only musical films doesn’t make sense to me. After all, “Música” is also about a man in the early stages of adulthood. It is also a multi-cultural romance that tackles different themes. So, I’ve come up with a few options that may interest you for a number of different reasons.

Here are 8 movies to watch if you like “Música”:

1. In the Heights (2021)

8 Movies to watch if you like Música In the Heights (2021)

The most obvious choice in this list was Lin Manuel-Miranda’s brainchild, In the Heights.” This 2021 film, written by Quiara Alegría Hudes for the screen, is a vibrant, lively, and energetic musical that revolves around a predominantly Dominican Republic community of Washington Heights, New York. It is colourful, high-octane, and relentless in its presentation. At the same time, it has some heartening dramatic moments that explore the peculiarities of a specific community and its culture.

Melissa Barrera & Anthony Ramos amplify the film’s intensity through their charming central performances. Their romance feels larger-than-life, even in the narrow lanes or small alleys of a bustling city. The credit goes to director Jon M Chu, who uses these spaces to his advantage. More than anything, the dance sequences feel rooted in its ethos. For all these reasons, it is a perfect musical flick to watch as a follow-up to Rudy Mancuso’s picturesque “Música.”

2. Yesterday (2019)

8 Movies to watch if you like Música Yesterday (2019)

“Yesterday,” starring Himesh Patel and Lily James, is a bittersweet romantic comedy that pays tribute to the legacy of The Beatles through an absurd plot. It revolves around a struggling musician who is about to give up on his dreams of having a career in music. Still, his childhood friend/manager keeps motivating him. One day, after a surprising 12-second global power failure, he becomes the only person who knows the Beatles songs. In this version of the world, the British rock band was never formed. So, the protagonist decides to use the band’s tracks for his career. Since the Beatles’ songs are catchy, addictive, and exciting, people love them dearly. So, he becomes an overnight global sensation.

In “Música,” we see Rudy Mancuso’s character having similar emotional struggles. He wants to be known for his craft but is unrecognized or unappreciated. He also wrestles between his love and ambition while his close friend believes in his vision. She pushes him to take the next step and not lose trust in himself. So, if you liked Mancuso’s film for these elements, you should definitely check out Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday.”

3. Once (2007)

8 Movies to watch if you like Música Once (2007)

Before John Carney became known for “Begin Again” and “Sing Street,” he made the brilliant low-key romantic musical, “Once.” This 2007 film follows two unnamed characters, Guy & Girl, who fall for each other because of their shared love for music. He writes songs out of the pain of his broken heart. She wrote it out of longing. Despite sharing a close bond with soulful and intimate music, they both grapple with the reality of their lives. Due to these deep underlying emotions, the film becomes a bittersweet romance that stands the test of time.

As seen in “Música,” the two artists in “Once” are also struggling to make a living. While following the songs of their hearts, they also need to face reality and accept the responsibility to improve it. Yet, it is not a steady path. Mancuso’s character also has to be mature and embrace a realist approach to his life. He needs to find an outlet that gives justice to his talent and craft. If you liked “Música” for these psychological reasons, “Once” would be a wonderful follow-up.

4. Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)

Tick, Tick... Boom! (2021)

Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Tick, Tick… Boom!” is a semi-autobiographical story about Jonathan Larson based on his musical of the same name. It follows Larson, who aspired to make a name in the theatre industry through his musical. He feels the pressure to be successful by the age of 30. While the financial burden weighs heavy on him, his friend suggests a lucrative career in advertising. Instead, Larson wants to keep focusing on things he is passionate about.

Rudy Mancuso’s story in “Música” is fairly similar to Larson’s, who also detests the idea of a conventional marketing job and wants to pursue his passion for making art the way he likes, even if his quirky puppet-driven musicals cater to a niche. While “Música” sheds light on the impact of a particular culture, “Tick, Tick… Boom!” explores aspects of privilege amidst the AIDS crisis. Besides that, “Tick, Tick… Boom!” is fun, lively, and full of personality, like Mancuso’s film. So, it should be on your watchlist if you liked “Música.”

5. The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick (2017)

A key aspect explored in Rudy Mancuso’s “Música” is the experience of an immigrant in an American society. When Mancuso’s character joins his American girlfriend’s parents for a meal, they ask questions that reveal their ignorance of cultures beyond theirs. They seem intrusive and offensive. Even his girlfriend doesn’t grasp how inappropriate those remarks are. A similar conversation happens in Kumail Nanjiani starrer “The Big Sick” between its Pakistani-American protagonist and his girlfriend’s parents.

Although it presents a similar cultural dissonance, “The Big Sick” shows it as an icebreaker to improve their bond. It’s a lovely indie rom-com that is a joy to watch even after years of its release. It doesn’t have a prominent element of music, but it also shows the expectations of people from a specific culture. Nanjiani’s character has to deal with his parents similarly to how Mancuso’s character does. So, if you liked “Música” for its exploration of cultural specificity and want something light-hearted to watch, you should check out “The Big Sick.”

6. Blinded by the Light (2019) 

Blinded by the Light (2019) 

Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded by the Light” isn’t a song-and-dance number musical. But it is definitely about the music and its power to help people for their emotional survival and growth. It follows a South-Asian immigrant kid who deeply admires Bruce Springsteen’s music. In his neighborhood in England, he faces racism almost everywhere. But the music becomes his source of comfort and expression. It helps him keep writing his poetry and doing his creative work despite people’s prejudices.

Rudy Mancuso’s “Música” isn’t meant to be a hard-hitting commentary to describe the feeling outsiders are made to feel at another place. It is about an aspiring musician who can’t make art the way he wants because of a lack of external support and internal motivation to take it to the next stage. Still, it presents a similarly touching narrative to show the power of music or art, in general, to heal from your psychological turmoil. So, “Blinded by the Light” can be an uplifting film for you if you’re on the lookout for something similar.

7. 500 Days of Summer (2009)

500 Days of Summer (2009) movies like Música

Although charming and creatively designed, “Música” had one glaring issue: its female lead (played by Camila Mendes) felt like a manic pixie dream girl. She makes the male lead feel validated, supported and appreciated in his creative pursuit to the point she feels like a figment of his imagination. Her purpose in the script seemed more to inspire the male protagonist’s greater appreciation for life than to have her own wider emotional canvas. Films like “Garden State” and “Elizabethtown” almost entirely revolve around this trope.

‘”500 Days of Summer” explores the same phenomenon. Its hopeless romantic protagonist, Tom, falls for a woman named Summer based on similar interests in music, among other things. She makes him feel the joy he craves in his life. Yet, she is honest about her expectations about her life and their relationship. He struggles to understand them and make peace. So, if you liked “Música” for its romantic arc, “500 Days of Summer” will surely charm you.

8. Up in the Air (2009)

8 Movies to watch if you like Música Up in the Air (2009)

It may seem like an odd suggestion, but “Up in the Air” is a great follow-up to a film like “Música.” In Mancuso’s coming-of-age film, his character values his passion and pursues it irrespective of societal expectations. Due to this pursuit, he has to make sacrifices in his love life. Although disheartened by the loss of his love, he learns to be mature about his life. The film explores his complicated relationship with love, romance, ambition, and career.

Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” follows a similar struggle for its protagonist, Ryan (played by George Clooney). Unlike Mancuso’s character’s financial struggles, Ryan has a flourishing professional life. But Clooney’s character ignores his emotional life and excels in his professional one. As a downsizing expert, he understands the emotions of others and how to use them for his work. But he feels scared to face his own and have a relationship. So, it becomes a mature exploration of his anguish about the choice between love & ambition.

Read More: The 10 Best Movie Musicals in Cinema

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