TL;DR – A film that is a pure delight from start to finish.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Disney+ subscription that viewed this movie.
Luca Review –
We have a longing for those moments in our childhood when everything seemed to come together. I think this is an almost universal drive in people, the place and location might be different, but that drive is still the same. Today we look at a film that captures this drive and crafts it into a narrative that will delight.
So to set the scene, once evening off the coast of the Italian Riviera, two fishermen decide to fish close to Isola del Mare even though the reputation that monsters surround it, which was sort of true because around the island live a village of sea people. Among the sea people/monsters is Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay), who lives with his family herding goatfish. However, one day in the fields, a human approached collecting the flotsam on the bottom of the ocean. Luca runs but soon finds that this is not a human but another sea person called Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer). Alberto lives on the surface in a tower because once a sea person leaves the water, they can turn into a human when they dry out.
The first thing I want to say about this film is that it is an absolute delight from start to finish. I never grew up on the Italian Riviera, so I don’t have that emotional connection, yet I completely get it throughout this film. You see that care in every moment. You feel in the action, in the music, and the scenery. Every frame in this film is a delight to watch, the blues of the ocean juxtaposed with the earthy terracotta washes of the buildings. The animation of water came leaps and bounds in Moana, and we see another evolution here. It becomes this threshold between two worlds, giving it a thematic and visual weight.
At the core of the narrative is the notion of friendship. Alberto and Luca form this instant bond as they are thrown into this world they don’t completely understand, which is only elevated once they meet Giulia Marcovaldo (Emma Berman) and get roped into Portorosso Cup, a local triathlon. Alberto and Luca want the prize money to buy a Vespa, Giulia wants to win to defeat the local bully Ercole Visconti (Saverio Raimondo). This bond of friendship becomes the driving force of the film and could have worked even without the monster component, but it works even better with it. Luca is a film that also dives into the notion of the other and othering in a very superficial way but also in a purposeful way. So the othering happens around who is a human and who is a monster, but the underlying drive of people having to hide who they are to be accepted by society is clear to see.
This is also a film about parenting, both good, bad, and well-meaning if misplaced. Luca’s parents, Daniela (Maya Rudolph) and Lorenzo (Jim Gaffigan), clearly care deeply for him and only want the best. But they don’t know how to process him going up to the surface and overreact. Alberto’s father just straight up abandoned his own son because he didn’t feel like the responsibility. In comparison, Giulia’s father Massimo (Marco Barricelli) has this commanding visage yet the biggest heart. He took in two runaways off the street and treated them with care as if they were his own. This juxtaposition is at the emotional core of the film and one of the reasons it works as well as it does.
In the end, do we recommend Luca? Absolutely. This film is a delight from start to finish. Every part of the production supports every other part of the film, creating a lattice that supports every frame. The music and setting are a delight, the story is emotional, and the characters are charming. If you liked Luca, I would also recommend to you The Mitchells vs. The Machines.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Luca
Directed by – Enrico Casarosa
Story by – Enrico Casarosa, Jesse Andrews & Simon Stephenson
Screenplay by – Jesse Andrews & Mike Jones
Music by – Dan Romer
Cinematography by – David Juan Bianchi & Kim White
Edited by – Catherine Apple & Jason Hudak
Production/Distribution Companies – Pixar & Disney
Starring – Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Saverio Raimondo, Maya Rudolph, Jim Gaffigan, Peter Sohn, Lorenzo Crisci, Marina Massironim, Sandy Martin, Sacha Baron Cohen, Giacomo Gianniotti, Gino La Monica, Elisa Gabrielli, Mimi Maynard, Francesca Fanti, Jonathan Nichols & Jim Pirri
Rating – Australia: G; Canada: G; Germany: G; New Zealand: G; United Kingdom: U; United States: G