Luke is on a quest to find a job and to look for true love.
Writer/director ALONSO MAYO‘S THE STORY OF LUKE (2012) is a captivating comedy about Luke (Lou Taylor Pucci), a 25-year old autistic sheltered and raised by his grandparents. When his grandmother dies, and his grandpa Jonas (Kenneth Welsh) is sent to live in a nursing home, Luke is sent to live with his remaining family members. Instead of this being a complicated story structured around a catastrophic character introduction into a family where each member is dealing with a psychosocial crisis of their own, Luke adapts to his new surroundings. Also, unlike other indie films of this genre, Mayo’s Story of Luke features a remarkable protagonist who consistently underestimates those who don’t expect much from him.
Following the advice of his grandfather Jonas: to find a job and a girl who doesn’t nag too much, Luke (Pucci) braves the world outside of his sheltered routine to set out and prove (to himself) that he can become his own man and live on his own. In the real world, he learns that finding “himself” isn’t as easy as eating pancakes while watching his favorite cooking program on television. He confronts and humorously succeeds his limitations in social awkwardness and communication. Luke’s interactions with a diverse group of people outside the safety of his Uncle Paul (Cary Elwes), and Aunt Cindy’s (Kristin Bauer van Straten) home is as endearing, and as honest as any good-hearted and well-intentioned protagonist should be.
There are well-intentioned moments in the story where the brutal dialogue from a moody and avoidant social IT tech Zack (Seth Green), there to antagonize and mock Luke’s uniqueness. The distasteful use of the word “retard,” and Green’s in-your-face provocations would have been more effective if he’d only toned it down a bit. Aside from those few unintelligible performances by “Zack’s” character, it did not distract from the memorable performance by Pucci’s “Luke” persona.
The Story of Luke (2012) conveys a strong message of acceptance and family with charming performances (sans Green’s “Zack” character) and grounded story. Luke’s initial pursuits don’t fair exactly how he expects. It presents the reality of life and the experience of living it won’t always go as planned. That there are perhaps more than a few unintended occurrences in life that prove that not everyone will always get what they want out of life and that the importance of family and acceptance trumps failure every time.
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