Luca

image for Luca

Short takes

Not suitable under 5; parental guidance to 10 (frightening images, slapstick violence, themes of abandonment)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Luca
  • a review of Luca completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 June 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not suitable due to frightening visual images and slapstick violence.
Children aged 5–10 Parental guidance recommended due to frightening visual images, slapstick violence and themes of child abandonment.
Children over the age of 10 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Luca
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Very mild themes, violence and coarse language
Length: 101 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) is the adolescent son of a family of sea-people and knows that the most dangerous thing in the world is to leave the water. But when he comes across another fish-boy, Alberto (voiced by Jack Dylan Grazer), collecting treasures dropped from a boat, Luca finds himself up on land where he discovers that he can transform into a human when completely dry. As Luca and Alberto’s friendship flourishes, they become obsessed with building a Vespa scooter to escape Luca’s nagging parents and see the world. As Luca spends more time out of the water, his mother becomes suspicious and catches him in the act, threatening to send him to the depths of the ocean with his angler-fish Uncle, Ugo (voiced by Sacha Baron-Cohen). Terrified of his deep-water fate, Luca – with Alberto in tow – escapes to the picturesque Italian seaside town, Porto Rosso. Here they meet self-described underdog, Giulia (voiced by Emma Berman), who gets them involved in the town’s annual triathlon (swimming, cycling, and eating pasta). While Giulia’s goal is to beat the previous winner, town bully and Vespa owner, Ercole (voiced by Saverio Raimondo), the boys set their sights on the prize money as a way of getting their scooter. As the three kids train for the race, the boys must keep their secret safe from the sea monster-hunting townsfolk and, whatever they do, not get wet!

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family separation; Abandonment of a child; Bullying.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • A young boy slaps his friend.
  • Luca’s mother kicks a ball into a child’s face – this is comedic.
  • Luca accidentally elbows Alberto in the face.
  • Luca and Alberto are threatened with harpoons on numerous occasions.
  • Ercole punches Alberto in the stomach.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A fish monster is seen in shadow and frightens two fishermen – this may distress very young children.
  • Luca and his community are fish-people – they are cute in appearance but may upset very young children because of their fins and tails.
  • When Luca and his community leave the water, they transform into humans (in appearance) – this may distress very young children.
  • Luca’s grandmother sleeps with her eyes open – this may frighten younger children.
  • Luca’s uncle is an angler fish and may be frightening in appearance to younger children – Luca is also asked to punch his uncle’s chest to restart his heart – this is comedic.
  • Giulia’s father only has one arm and is menacing in appearance.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Luca’s mother tells him that “land monsters” (people) will murder him if they catch him.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Alberto explains that he was abandoned by his father and is visibly upset – this may distress some children.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Vespa scooter.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Jerk
  • Idioti
  • Stupido
  • Shut up.

In a nutshell

Luca is a comedic coming-of-age story that combines crisp animation and the beautiful Italian seaside to create a sweet film that will likely entertain families with children over 5. However, the film is best suited for children aged eight and older, and parental guidance is recommended to ten due to some frightening visual imagery, slapstick violence and themes of child abandonment.

The main message from this movie is that you can only find belonging when you accept yourself.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Accepting others despite their differences.
  • Supporting friends in their time of need.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Looking directly at the sun.
  • Disobeying your parents in dangerous situations.
  • The risk of injury when riding a homemade Vespa down a hill.
  • The consequences of bullying behaviour – Ercole bullies the boys frequently and is shown as powerful and successful.