Pixar Makes Statement with ‘Luca’ Release During Pride Month


Image from Disney-Pixar’s Luca. (Courtesy USA Today)

By Makena Reynolds, Arts Writer


Disney-Pixar’s latest feature film “Luca” follows a young sea monster by the same name, who is curious about life above water. Even when his parents warn him against going to see the humans, his curiosity overtakes him. In his scavenge on the shore, he befriends a fellow sea monster, Alberto, who introduces Luca to his new dream: owning a Vespa.

After realizing how much they have in common, they decide to take the leap and live life amongst humans. Quickly, the two realize that the Italian town they visit is anti-sea monster, so they have to hide their true selves in order to fit in and most importantly, survive. 

This charming tale was created through Disney and Pixar studios by Enrico Casarosa, Jesse Andrews and Simon Stephenson along with many other animators, producers and directors. Casarosa, who also took on the role of head director, said that portions of the film were inspired by his own childhood.

A Hidden Message?

Was it a coincidence that “Luca” was released during Pride month? The entire movie felt like a metaphor for the struggles of LGBTQ+ youth finding their way through an unaccepting world. It has been stated that the relationship between Luca and Alberto is strictly “platonic,” but the dialogue surrounding Luca’s differences puts forth the notion that the heart of this story is bigger than the friendship of two boys.

When Luca’s parents find out he has been going above water, they become fearful for his safety and want to send him to deep water. It can be recognized that this is “for his own good,” but it felt like a nudge toward parents who send their kids away when they find out they are Queer.

Of course, it is revealed at the end of the movie that the mother is just afraid that people will not accept him for who he is, to which the grandmother responds, “Some people, they’ll never accept him — but some will. And he seems to know how to find the good ones.” This is a slightly pessimistic but truthful sentiment that rings true for many LGBTQ+ youth who have to juggle life differently once they’ve come out of the closet — a thought-provoking attitude to adapt and an equally important lesson to learn. 

Why tell the story of LGBTQ+ youth through an animated sea monster movie? Disney has been including gay characters slowly but surely in TV series such as “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” and “Andi Mack,” but why would Disney-Pixar decide to pull back on the reins now?

If “Luca” was meant to be advertised as a movie that featured LQBTQ+ acceptance, then the people that should see the movie would not attend. The message of this movie is for everyone. The story generates compassion and understanding for all people; however, the lesson of acceptance is most important for those who were raised with homophobic mindsets. Hiding sentiment such as this within an animated movie is the only way to provide this experience to those who are reluctant to be sympathetic towards members of the Queer community.


Watch “Luca” on Disney+.


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