While a lot of pieces are focusing on the title character of Luca, I think that Alberto deserves some love for the journey his character went on. Because he was more than just the best friend. He was more than the friend that showed Luca how to be human. And he was more than the found family that got a little jealous when that found family started growing. He was Alberto, a sea monster with abandonment issues who found a family in Luca, Giulia, and Massimo.
When we first started off in Luca, Alberto was the wild child. He was the one that took the risks, acted like his life was perfect, and who showed Luca the ropes when it came to being human. And we were painted this picture of a sea monster who was a bit lonely but he was too busy dreaming about Vespas, so could things really be that bad for him? It really was a guise to hide the pain his character was going through, day in and day out, as he bonded with Luca.
Because Alberto has been alone for a long time. And it becomes crystal clear how alone he’s been when Luca discovers what was behind that Vespa picture in his home. His father abandoned him and left him to fend for himself. And that gave Alberto abandonment issues that he tried to cover up with a jovial nature that disguised his pain. He did such a good job at hiding all of that that I think he even fooled himself into believing that everything was ok and that he wasn’t afraid.
Alberto was absolutely afraid. Afraid to let Luca in and then afraid to lose Luca to Guilia. And that fear manifested in a way where he didn’t see that Guilia also wanted to be his friend. Alberto was stuck in this rut where if he didn’t protect his friendship with Luca, he was going to lose him. And that’s not how friendship works. We can have multiple friends and an expansive found family. That doesn’t change the bonds that we have. It enriches them and makes our lives better.
When Luca called him a sea monster, a part of Alberto broke. Here was this person who he cared for, and who he feared would abandon him, and in a way Luca did. And that’s some mental health issues that need to be dived into. Because Alberto had the capacity to be angry at Luca, listen to him, and then forgive him because he understood the fear his friend was going through. The last part of this being the most important for Alberto’s mental health and his progress as a character.
Another piece that needs some loving when it comes to Alberto is his relationship with Massimo. No one will replace his father and with the way that he abandoned Alberto, I don’t think he’d want him back anyway. But Alberto bonded with Massimo in a way that he hasn’t for a really long time. That’s why it broke my heart that Alberto decided to not go with Luca to school, but also pieced it back together when I realized that Alberto was going to stay with Massimo and return to just being a kid.
Because Alberto was forced to grow up too fast. He was forced to fend for himself. He was even forced to pretend that everything was ok when it wasn’t. And his development, and the stages of healing when it came to his mental health, is something that young viewers are going to watch, connect with, and learn from. If that isn’t the best reason to create films then I don’t know what is. Basically, I love Alberto, his journey, and how he grew as a sea monster and as a boy who had finally found a place to call home.