‘Musica’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Does Rudy Find What He’s Looking For?

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For the most part, Rudy Mancuso’s Musica is your typical rom-com. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of style in this film; however, it’s just not enough substance. The concept of synesthesia is well depicted, and the idea of hearing music in everyday sound is so fun; however, I’m not sure the screenplay does anything to make this film as extraordinary as it makes itself out to be. It is a cool project by an internet personality who takes from his own life experiences and showcases his creativity beautifully; however, I can’t help but feel disappointed by the story. I love musicals, and I love a good rom-com, so this film should’ve been right up my alley, yet I was left very disappointed by cliche dialogue like “I’ve never met anybody like her before.” It’s 2024, and all we can get is something completely absurd or something clichéd and overused, and I’m sorry, I want more! But there was massive potential in this movie, and I suppose that’s something. Anyway, I’ll conclude my mini-rant here and get into the recap and ending of Musica.

Spoiler Alert


How does Rudy meet Isabella? 

We tune into Rudy’s life when it’s somewhat of a mess and his girlfriend Haley is tired of him zoning out on her. Rudy’s Brazilian mother doesn’t like the white girl anyway, and so when she hears that Haley has broken up with Rudy, she thinks it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce him to women of his own heritage, the beautiful Brazilians. See, Rudy hears music in everything; it’s almost like a form of therapy for him, or maybe I could say it’s his escape from the real world. When he walks down the subway steps, it’s a piano. When he sits in a diner with his girlfriend, he can’t help but be distracted by the music of cooking and serving. This is exactly why Haley doesn’t feel like he cares for her at all. Additionally, he’s always dividing his attention between her and his mother, so she feels unseen. 

Rudy is in his last year of school, and his only interests are puppets and music, something Haley doesn’t understand. She wants him to become more serious in life and get a real job when they live together at university. Rudy spends most of his time working on these “hobbies” and works late into the morning down in the subway for some petty cash, which doesn’t really help his cause. Plus, he lives at home with his mother (biggest oop, eh?). But at least that means he always has a lot of food on his plate. Being broken up makes Rudy realize he should take things a bit seriously. He tries to study hard, but it doesn’t really work. His mother sends him to buy fish one day, and there, like the feeling of spring after a cold winter, he sees Isabella, a Brazilian. Isabella is very different from Haley. She’s actually interested in seeing the world through Rudy’s eyes. I guess getting smacked in the face with a fish can really bring some perspective in life. Isabella suggests Rudy take his show “up” and actually work on it. In the meantime, at school, Haley notices him trying to ask questions in class (it’s only because it’s about music).

Now Rudy is stuck between his ex of four years, who wants to make things work out, and a fresh perspective, who is more understanding of him because of their matching backgrounds. Rudy spends a lot of time chit-chatting with his puppet (whoops). I suppose it’s his inner voice, which should never be out in the world. One night, when he’s trying to take Isabella out on a date using his friend’s truck, he ends up getting shot in the arm. It’s only grazing and he’ll live, but this gets Isabella and Rudy closer, and he learns that when she was 15, her mother left the country for a man, so she’s really all by herself. She covers Rudy’s ears when he goes to his faraway place and calms him down. Then he’s thinking “she’s my dream girl; I’ve never had such a connection in my life.” 


Does Rudy realize his curse is a boon? 

Still, somehow, Rudy ends up two-timing the two girls “by accident” (apparently). While things are going wonderfully with Isabella, he ends up going to Haley’s house for a meal, which goes terribly. Her parents are racist and classist and don’t see how he’s right for their daughter. Now, it’s too late, and Rudy asks to meet Haley at a Brazilian restaurant in his part of town (a smart move). Isabella happens to be in the same restaurant getting takeout. Somehow, this doesn’t knock some sense into Rudy, and he ends up trying to divide his time between the two girls. In the end, his mother shows up, and the three women surround him in the middle of the restaurant. A crescendo for Rudy, who explodes finally, revealing to Haley that he invited her there to break up with her because he found “another woman.” Unfortunately, Isabella doesn’t care if she’s the chosen one; she leaves the restaurant. 

After a drunken night makes Rudy hallucinate that his life is a routine mess, his mother tries to knock some sense into Rudy. She asks him what he wants in life, and he lists a few things. One is to be happy; the other is to spend time with his mother, his puppets and music, and ultimately Isabella. She’s kind of his savior, or that’s what the dream made it seem like. Rudy writes a song for Isabella to apologize, but she asks him to speak to her like a real adult. She tells him that he’s trying hard to keep something together that he doesn’t even know if he really wants. His apology doesn’t work because Isabella has always been left with her feelings ignored (selfish mother situation, you know). 

During Musica‘s ending, it’s time for Rudy to submit his thesis, but instead, he turns it into a script titled “Musica,” inspired by his own life. Finally, Rudy takes his show above ground and presents a comedy show with his puppets recreating scenes from his life with music and laughter. Ultimately, after his show is a success, he receives takeout with a smiley face on the cover. This is the same smiley face Isabella drew for him after he got smacked by a piece of fish in the face. I suppose at the end of the film, Rudy has found his footing as an individual, so Isabella is okay with giving him another chance. Seeing as Rudy found music in every day, that’s where he went for inspiration for his puppet show too. Sometimes, you must look inward to create something magnificent, because what you may think is a curse might actually turn out to be the most special thing about you. I suppose the “quirky guy— not like other girls” trope always wins, huh? 


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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