Luca review: the pleasure of discovering friends and learning together

Luca is the directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa, Italian filmmaker struggling with an animated film by Disney Pixar, available from June 18 only on Disney +, at no additional cost for subscribers to the platform: here is our review

ORIGINAL TITLE: Luca. KIND: Comedy. NATION: Italy. DIRECTOR: Enrico Casarosa. CAST: Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Emma Berman, Maya Rudolph, Marco Barricelli, Jim Gaffigan, Saverio Raimondo. DURATION: 95 minutes. DISTRIBUTOR: Disney. EXIT TO THE PLATFORM: 18/06/2021

Luca in basing a summer teen movie promises adventures and a lot of fun, but he is also much more adult than he seems in appearance. Directorial debut by Luca Casarosa and by Disney Pixar, the film will involve you through visual and narrative elements that we will talk about immediately. First, however, it is fair to make a premise.

Like the previous film from Studio Pixar, Luca is also released on the platform without additional compensation for subscribers. Many employees of Pixar Animation Studios according to certain sources, said they were embittered by this distribution choice. In fact, it is as if Luca was not even worth the extra charge, as if it were lower than Black Widow which instead will need VIP access. Maybe Luca is a minor audiovisual product only for subscribers? Not worth the room or the surcharge? These legitimate questions and doubts you will easily forget because Luca has a very strong dignity and is a work of the Pixar Studio absolutely of a certain invoice.

Plot and trailer

Luca is a very young marine being who lives with his parents in the sea, sheltered from earthly monsters, that is, us humans. During a normal swim he meets Alberto, another of his kind who, however, lives on the surface. The two will become best friends and end up getting into trouble due to multiple events.

The summer teen movie and the pleasure of discovery | Luca review

Luca, like many other audiovisual products of the sub-genre to which he belongs, tries to tell the two young protagonists through the pleasure of discovery and generational clashes. You would think everything is regular, and indeed it is, certainly Luca never aims to overturn the classic structure of the subgenre in order to experiment. Yet behind a postcard summer mood, there is much more. The protagonist named Luca escapes from the underwater environment in order not to be sent to the sea depths where he would not know anyone. Initially there is a concrete reason that spurs him to get involved in a world he does not know, but slowly he falls in love with human culture. Of habits, customs and knowledge previously denied him.

Luca review: the pleasure of discovering friends and learning togetherFrom being a marine, the knowledge of the world on the surface was unknown to him, while thanks to the friendship of Alberto and Giulia, a human inhabitant of the place, he will learn surprising notions in his eyes. In this, the film stands out from other summer teen movies, precisely because Luca craves school, knowledge and the pleasure of immersing himself in a culture he does not know. Alberto too has an interesting and coherent arc that leads him to achieve what he has always lacked: a parental figure. In the first twenty minutes of the film, Luca can refer to Collodi’s famous novel because of its protagonists. If Luca is Pinocchio, the innocent naive who disobeys the family, Alberto is Lucignolo, the expert navigator of the world who is totally unconscious and not at all educated. This pair works great and luckily breaks away from Collodi’s characters very soon.

Representation of an alternative Italy | Luca review

Luca, directed by the Italian Enrico Casarosa, is also a tribute to our culture through musical citations and more. From the photo of Marcello Mastroianni in Italian Divorce in Fatti Mandare dalla mamma, the place of the village is still in an alternative time to ours that recalls the era of the sixties between wasps and much more. If it weren’t directed by an Italian, perhaps we would be here discussing a stereotypical representation of our habits and customs but the truth is that Portorosso, the place of the film, never existed due to a population too eager to become kind and good to those who wanted to kill a moment before.

Luca review: the pleasure of discovering friends and learning together

A note of merit, on the other hand, is to be found in the villain of the film, since the latter is really ruthless and performs actions that if they were not hindered, would have very serious consequences. Portorosso is a maritime place of fishermen who live the legend of the sea monster a lot, yet do not investigate that much. We only see him waving a few harpoons and nothing more, only the main villain goes hunting for presumed underwater beings. The inhabitants manifest a hatred triggered by fear towards marine creatures, but being Portorosso a utopian and bogus place, all of them change their opinion about Alberto, Luca and every underwater being.

Staging of an adult tale | Luca review

In the opening paragraph we underlined how much Luca is absolutely, despite his defects, a worthy product that had to be released in the hall. From the character design of the characters to the care of the animation in the places, the film by Enrico Casarosa and his team do a very good job. Certainly, the staging without an inspired script is only a vision for our eyes, while instead Luca knows how to be an adult film. In terms of inclusiveness and discrimination, the audiovisual product is also capable of taking political positions that are not so obvious.

Luca review: the pleasure of discovering friends and learning together

In the end, in fact, when Luca sets out towards his destiny, his grandmother pronounces a very clear sentence: “Some people will never accept it”. In this segment a realism is evident that looks at the human being as a being incapable of changing an extreme political position. In a pixar summer teen movie that tells everything we have discussed, Luca inserts these adult statements and in dissonance with the hope for the future that the film instills. Precisely in the future of the characters, there is a lot of curiosity, since Luca builds in the final, a potential sequel full of ideas that we will probably never see.


Luca the directorial debut of Enrico Casarosa who confirms that he is a new filmmaker to be observed, since everything can be thought of Luca except that it is a first work. From the staging to the writing of the characters, the film proceeds through narrative acts and conventions that we know very well. Yet we are there to get excited for Luca, Alberto and Giulia, a trio that works very well and that we hope to see again.

Points in favor

  • Well-kept staging
  • Very well written characters

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