Luca honestly surprised me. I thought I knew what I was walking into; a story about two young sea monsters and their adventures in the coastal town nearby. Color me surprised when this story pulled at my heartstrings and ended up being a story about friendship, forgiveness, and facing your fears; especially when they feel like they’re impossible to get through.
Luca is a young and curious sea monster who discovers that friendship is complicated. Yes, it’s wondrous, fun, and can change your whole life. But it’s complicated and needs a lot of love and care because we’re all individuals with needs and wants that make us unique in comparison to those that we love. And Luca learns that in this movie while discovering that there is a whole world out there to explore.
Alberto is the catalyst that helps set Luca on his adventure. But that doesn’t mean he disappears into the story because Luca is the lead. He has his own set of anxieties that plague him and make him feel alone and wary of things that are too good to be true. So as much as he helps Luca explore the world, Luca helps Alberto be vulnerable and open up to those around him and give a chance at love and family.
Giulia, the human girl they befriend along the way, doesn’t disappear under the shadow of Luca or Alberto either. She’s got her own injustices to take care of in this small town and she isn’t afraid to reach for the seemingly unattainable. Along the way she makes friends with Luca and Alberto without being afraid of what they are or where they come from, cementing her as a kind and compassionate person.
Together, these three weave a tale in Luca that explores the challenges of friendships. Sometimes it’s scary, opening yourself up to someone new. But it’s worth it for the things you get in return like found family, acceptance, and a place to call home. That’s what I think these three found with each other, a home of their own making that doesn’t get scared by the fact that 2 out of the 3 are sea monsters.
Luca is also a story about fear and forgiveness. We’re not perfect. Never have been and never will be. And once we understand that, we’re open to the biggest changes in our lives. And that’s what Luca and Alberto work through when the fears of the human world rear its ugly head. When that happens…we might not have the best reaction and we might mess up. But for family, especially that which is found, we’re willing to forgive and grow.
That is at the heart of Luca. Yes, it’s a coming of age story and yes it’s full of so many laughs and wonderful moments. But it’s a story about finding family in the most unexpected of places and growing with them because your love is strong, resilient, and can make it through anything, be that mistakes we make on our own or the distance that keeps us apart when the world throws us for a loop.
For that, I love Luca. Because if I can see all these things as an adult, I can’t imagine how these concepts will hit those that are younger and who think they’re just watching a feel good summer adventure of two sea monsters out to explore the world.