Movie Review: Luce

I am sure there is no accident that the main character in the movie “Luce”, who is an overachieving high school student, looks a great deal like a young Barack Obama. The film Luce is highly unusual in that it is more about how people interact with someone who everybody assumes is a great person, who will be doing to do great things and is extremely likable. This story examines the reality that what people show the world is not necessarily what they actually are.
The cast of this low budget “Indy” movie is impressive, with Naomi Watts as Luce’s mother, Tim Roth as his father and Octavia Spenser as his high school history teacher and newcomer Kelvin Harrison Jr. as Luce. What makes this story mostly work is that Luce was adopted by two white parents from a war zone and he needed years of rehabilitation starting at age 10 to recover from his PTSD due to years of being exposed to war as a young child. While Luce is a tremendous overachiever in high school, there are problems that start with the suspicions of his high school teacher Miss Wilson, played by Spenser, because of a paper that promotes violence Luce wrote for his history class. What follows are a series of events, including a scene where Miss Wilson’s mentally ill sister runs naked in the lobby of the high school, which I thought was not only unnecessary but not related enough to the main part of the story to even include in this film. The story has several other sub stories, some that enhance the story and others that seem unnecessary to the point of the film.
The acting in Luce is of course outstanding, but what I did not like was the ending, that did left too many loose ends, and resulted in an unsatisfactory conclusion in my opinion.
The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for this movie is an extremely high 93% but my rating is about 80%, more for the acting and less for the story. I do recommend Luce.

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