"The Damaging Effects of Childhood Trauma"
What You Need To Know:
LUCE is a riveting drama. The main actors deliver exceptional performances. The script is brilliant, with twists and turns in every scene. LUCE sheds light on issues like prejudice, racism, the power of manipulation, and the danger of stereotypes. The spine-chilling script showcases how childhood trauma can leave marks on one’s soul. However, evil eventually wins the day, and people lie to surpress the truth. LUCE also contains plenty of foul language, references to molestation, a couple sexual scenes, explicit nudity, and other immoral content.
LUCE was first shown at the Sundance Film Festival, where it received critical acclaim for its rock-solid acting performances and script. In the movie, Luce, a high school senior has paved his way to a highly successful future. He is valedictorian, a top-notch speaker, captain of his track team, and adored by all his teachers. However, he has an unsettling past that one teacher believes still lives inside him.
Luce was born and raised in the war-torn country, Eritrea, Africa. He was one of the many child soldiers who learned to hold and shoot a gun before he could write. When he was 10-years-old, two Americans adopted him to raise him as their own son. Amy and Peter spent years of time and money getting Luce the therapy and special attention he needed to recover from his childhood trauma. Luce is now preparing to graduate, and it appears he’s a changed person.
However, after Harriet Wilson, Luce’s history teacher, instructs her students to write an essay from a historical figure’s point of view, she’s alarmed when she reads what Luce has written. Luce has written from the point of view of a leader who believes murdering people who wronged you is okay. This essay prompts Harriet to search his locker where she finds a bag of explosive fireworks. She calls Luce’s mother, Amy, in for a parent teacher meeting and gives her the essay and the fireworks. She asks Amy to please speak with her son about the fireworks because Harriet knows their discovery could damage Luce’s future.
Amy gets home and explains to her husband, Peter, what happened. Peter concludes nobody knows their son better than they do, and they shouldn’t be concerned by an essay and some fireworks. Amy hides the fireworks and decides not to tell Luce about what happened that day. However, that evening, Luce opens the cabinet for a glass of water and discovers the essay and fireworks hidden in the back. He quickly realizes his teacher gave his mother these items.
The next day at school, Luce waits back after class to speak with Harriet. He explains to her that the Fourth of July is his favorite holiday, which is why he had fireworks. He makes a subtle threat to her about the damage fireworks can do, and Harriet promptly orders him to leave.
That evening, Harriet calls Peter, Luce’s father, and informs him that Luce threatened her that day. That evening, Peter speaks with Luce about the threat. He’s aware of the effects that being a child solider can have on the mind and is concerned about Luce. When he brings it up to him, Luce tells his parents that he and his friends share lockers and the fireworks weren’t his. In a heated argument, Amy and Peter are forced to decide who do they believe? Were the fireworks his friends? Did he threaten his teacher? Amy immediately sides with Luce, but Peter is furious and thinks Harriet Wilson is on to something.
After this intense argument, strange things begin to happen to Harriet. Her home is vandalized with a racial, sexist epithet. Her mentally ill sister is dropped off at the school, where she runs around naked and has a mental episode.
Meanwhile, rumors float around the school that a young girl was sexually molested by some boys. Harriet urges the girl to speak up. The girl first tells Luce’s mother, Amy, that she was sexually molested, after Amy reaches out to her on Facebook. Amy is concerned her son may have had something to do with the terrible incident. Although the girl says he didn’t, Amy is left with an unsettling feeling. Later in the movie, the girl goes to Harriet Wilson and confesses the truth, that Luce was one of the boys who hurt her. So, Harriet and the principal call a meeting with Luce’s parents to decide what to do, but will the parents tell the truth?
LUCE is a riveting drama that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Kelvin Harrison Jr., Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, and Tim Roth deliver exceptional performances. The script is also brilliant, with twists and turns in nearly every scene. LUCE sheds light on issues like prejudice, racism, the power of manipulation, and the danger of stereotypes. The spine-chilling script showcases how childhood trauma can leave marks on one’s soul. However, evil eventually wins the day, and people lie to cover up the truth. They also give excuses to each other for lying. In effect, the people turn a blind eye to the evil among them. LUCE also contains plenty of foul language, references to molestation, a couple sexual scenes, explicit nudity, and other immoral content. Though the movie doesn’t actually endorse the final outcome, the ending will leave the viewers unsettled and horrified.