The world is–arguably–a more progressive place than it was in the past. People feel safer to be their true selves–although again, that varies from place to place, so just imagine that every positive statement in this opening comes with a little asterisk next to it. And that openness is reflected in media, with queer characters appearing more and more frequently, even in stuff for kids. Enter Luca, a story about coming out and the hostility one may face in–
Hang on, my imaginary assistant just handed me a note. Let’s see here… Huh. Luca isn’t about homosexuality, but about being a fish monster? Debatable.
Luca (Mr. Jacob Tremblay, who was the younger brother in The Book of Henry) is a fishman–fishkid, I guess–who is curious about the world above the waves. His parents, voiced by Maya Rudolph and Jim Gaffigan, forbid him from going onto land, but an encounter with Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer, AKA young Eddie from 2017’s It) sees the two hanging out on land, developing a close friendship. Their fishman biology means they look human when dry, but turn back into fishmen if they get wet. Their dream of owning a Vespa leads them to meet Giulia, and Luca hanging out with her a lot makes Alberto insanely jealous. He outs himself as a fishman to prove a point that humans wouldn’t accept them, and is betrayed when Luca pretends he’s shocked to find out Alberto isn’t human. Giulia eventually figures out what’s up with Luca, and determination drives him to enter the big race alone, hoping his win can make things up with Alberto. But of course it rains, so Luca comes out as a fishman to save Alberto and ends up winning the race, and the acceptance of the village.
For a movie that’s not actually gay, this was hella gay. And I see the arguments that it’s not gay: there’s no actual romance plot in the film, and Luca is pretty young. But intentional or not, this is queer coded as hell. Also, gay people don’t suddenly realize they’re not straight on their 18th birthday and not a day before. There are absolutely gay kids, whether people want to admit it or not. Now, hopefully they’re skewing more towards homo-romantic cause, you know, being kids and all, but still. On the other side, having stories about friendship that aren’t romantic are uncommon and nice to see, but… man, this was just really, really gay.
Follow Me Elsewhere