‘Luca:’ Heartwarming Pixar film centered around simple theme of acceptance


Before watching “Luca” I thought to myself, I probably won’t tear up over a Pixar film again. But after watching this bittersweet heartwarming movie about a boy who is trying to live out his dreams, I have to admit my opinions have changed.

The seemingly stereotypical Italian movie is actually quite moving. It has many layers of meaningful themes behind its plot . The movie follows the story of a sea monster named Luca (Jacob Tremblay) who lives off the coast of a small Italian village of Portorosso. For his own safety, his parents have forbidden Luca from approaching the surface. After he meets his new friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) however, he begins to explore life above the sea. The two share a dream of one day owning a Vespa and being free to travel wherever they want instead of having to hide from humans under the sea. The two sea monsters, when dry, are able to blend in with humans and in turn decide to risk going to the town of Portorosso to escape Luca’s parents who were going to banish him to the bottom of the sea to prevent him from venturing out of the waters. When in Portorosso, Luca and Alberto meet a girl named Giulietta (Emma Berman) and they become friends. Luca and Alberto are opened up to new opportunities that they never had when confined to the sea and they learn a lot about who they want to be, while struggling with their identities being revealed. 

The theme of the movie centers around the town accepting Luca and Alberto of being sea monsters. However, the message could be interpreted in a different context. Luca has to balance hiding his identity and not letting his fear hold him back from adventuring in the real world. While it is a Pixar movie targeted towards a younger audience, the themes and message behind this movie can be related to a bigger, overarching issue. In society, many face a similar struggle as Luca: trying to fit in and discover themselves. 

In addition, the theme of acceptance can also relate to how many people of all ages fear that society will not be accepting of who they are. Specifically, minorities and those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community go through this similar struggle as they face the fear of being unsafe or unwanted in society. But as the movie Luca shows us, there is hope.

To quote Luca’s Nonna, “Some people, they’ll never accept him. But some will. And he seems to know how to find the good ones.”

Pixar claims that the central idea of embracing one’s true identity can be applied to anyone and their own struggle. I think they were able to deliver that message with this coming-of-age film. 

Grade: B+