Luca

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Luca Movie Poster Image
 Popular with kidsParents recommend
Sweet fish-out-of-water story about friendship, adventure.
  • PG
  • 2021
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 41 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 95 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Viewers will learn a bit about the deep, dark bottom of the ocean, as well as different astronomical facts. 

Positive Messages

Encourages curiosity, empathy, perseverance, teamwork. Stresses importance of having dreams and goals, as well as a plan to make those dreams come true. Friendships and working together are major themes, as are being intellectually curious and wanting to learn as much as possible about the world. Another important message: not judging others for their background or heritage.

Positive Role Models

Luca is curious, intelligent, kind. He wants to learn as much as he can about the surface and beyond. He makes some mistakes but atones for them. Alberto is courageous, as well as a bit reckless, but he's loyal to Luca. Giulia is clever, committed, smart. All the parents are loving. All characters are White/Italian; movie is set on Italian Riviera.

Violence & Scariness

Physical comedy throughout includes characters lightly hurting themselves as they jump off cliffs, fall off bicycles, get attacked by a suspicious cat. One character pushes and punches another. In one sequence, a villager repeatedly throws a spear at Alberto and Luca; others threaten them, and they're the target of mean behavior. Giulia's father is huge and imposing, thanks to both his size and his knife skills. Disagreements.

Sexy Stuff
Language

Language is largely of the insult variety: "stinking," "stupido," "jerk," "idioti," "trash," "shut up," "what's wrong with you," and "bottom feeder," as well as swearing stand-in "aw, sharks." Body humor in the form of ear- and nose-picking.

Consumerism

A Vespa scooter is central to the story and is presented as very aspirational/glamorous. Like all Disney films, there's plenty of off-screen merchandise, including apparel, toys, games, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Luca is Pixar's film about two sea creatures who leave their watery homes to discover the wonders of the surface in a small village on the Italian Riviera. It's a sweet coming-of-age story about courage, curiosity, and friendship -- specifically, that of Luca (voiced by Wonder's Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (It'Jack Dylan Grazer). There's a bit of silly body humor (nose- and ear-picking) as well as occasional insults in both English and easily understandable Italian, like "trash," "stupido," "idioti," and "jerk." Physical comedy includes injuries from stunts like jumping off of cliffs and trees, riding a bike, and even getting in a tussle with another teen. Scared villagers wield spears and harpoons, and one even throws his at the main characters. Another character likes to use his big knife to chop up fish, much to Luca and Alberto's dismay. Parents and kids who watch together will be able to discuss the movie's appealing setting and its themes, particularly the importance of evaluating others for who they are, not because of their background or heritage.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTre H. June 18, 2021

So-so

Not a terrible movie. But, I did expect it to be little more...I don't know entertaining...

And now I am going to sound like my mother, (sigh), but movies... Continue reading
Adult Written byLarkspur3000 June 22, 2021

Didn’t give it high expectations and still enjoyed it!

I think this film is a beautiful coming of age story centered around friendship. It resembled the little mermaid almost to a tee, I was pleased that the confli... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bywillowsbff June 21, 2021

Amazing

This movie was great! It had amazing scenes about getting through problems, and learning to love yourself and getting like social acceptance or whatever. Beside... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCharamander July 9, 2021

Good characters/Funny/A weird idea

So this movie was good! I anticipated it and couldn't wait to watch it with my family.
The message is good, showing kids to stand up for themselves and to... Continue reading

What's the story?

LUCA takes place at the Italian seaside, where the titular character is the son in a family of sea creatures. Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) follows his parents' (Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan) rules not to go near the dangerous surface, until he comes across a stranger collecting treasures. Luca follows the boy, Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), to the shore, where they both transform into humans. Luca and Alberto become fast friends, sharing dreams and plans that involve what Alberto claims is the best prize among humans: the Vespa scooter. When Luca's family catches on that he's been hanging out above water, they threaten to send him to the depths of the ocean with his angler-fish Uncle Ugo (Sacha Baron Cohen). Frightened, Luca and Alberto run away to the nearest human town, Porto Rosso, where they meet outgoing Giulia (Emma Berman), who informs them about the town's annual race: a triathlon involving swimming, cycling, and eating pasta. The boys team up with Giulia -- who's come in second several years in a row to an overconfident, rude villager named Ercule (Saverio Raimondo) -- and move in with her and her intimidating fisherman father (Marco Barricelli). They must also do everything they can to keep from getting wet, lest the sea-monster-fearing villagers try to spear them.

Is it any good?

This heartfelt, gorgeously animated adventure is a short and sweet reminder of sun-filled summer days with new friends. The setting is so vivid that audiences will want to book a flight to the Italian Rivera for some amazing pasta, clear seas, and the charm of winding cobblestone streets, marble fountains, and quirky townsfolk. Tremblay is a wonderfully expressive voice performer, making Luca's intellectual curiosity and general awe come to life. Grazer's Alberto is a confident and impetuous counterbalance to Luca's thoughtful and initially hesitant personality. Berman also impresses as Giulia, who really wants to win the race but is even more excited to make new friends. The supporting Italian cast is strong, as are Rudolph and Gaffigan, who at this point are almost default choices as funny parents. And audiences will laugh aloud at Baron Cohen's brief but hilarious role as Luca's uncle from the deep.

Luca's themes are reminiscent of those in Finding Nemo and Finding DoryThe Little Mermaid, and even Onward. The boys turn into friends who are more like brothers, discovering both the joys and the dangers of the human world, and their adventure is filled with memorable views under the sea. This isn't a tearjerker, and that's actually refreshing -- not every Pixar film needs to be an emotionally cathartic affair. This one is tender, sweet, and also funny, with silly physical comedy and an amusingly suspicious cat (Giulia's kitty looks just like her dad, right down to what looks like a mustache). It's also lovely to see a single father who belies his oversized appearance by cooking delicious meals, teaching the boys the skills needed to fish, and supporting his daughter in her dream to compete in Porto Rosso's big annual race. Families with kids of all ages will enjoy this adorable addition to Pixar's excellent list of films.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Luca's message about family and friendship. What does Luca learn about what makes a family? Kids: Who do you consider to be part of your family?

  • Which characters do you consider role models? How do their actions demonstrate curiosityteamwork, and perseverance? Why are those important character strengths?

  • Discuss how the movie portrays Giulia's father's disability. How does it impact him? Why is it important to see people with disabilities represented in popular culture? Can you think of other examples?

  • Did you find any parts of the movie scary or upsetting? If so, why? What bothers you more: danger/action, or conflict between characters?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love family-friendly adventures

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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