One of Pixar’s newest films, Luca, is a fantastically gay movie that highlights childhood friendships and seemingly queer characters. Although we do not know Pixar’s exact meaning behind the symbols, there is obvious potential for representation. The queer story is similar to the lives of our LGBTQ community members.
The Queer Coding of Pixar’s Luca
The movie’s title character is a young boy named Luca. In the movie he comes to terms with his two true identities. The monster metaphors presented in the film can represent his pre-puberty world through queer allegory. The queer representation that he portrays is uncanny.
The story he lives is all too similar to other such coming-of-age films. Except, the artistic expression of maintaining two versions of himself simultaneously is in this one.
Luca’s parents have forbidden him from leaving the sea ever again. They want to send him to live in the deepest part of the ocean. There he will live with Uncle Ugo who can keep him safe.
They remind us that sometimes our parents do now know what is best. Even if they think they have our best interest at heart. This scene made me think about a more serious topic: conversion therapy.
The second main character in the film is Alberto. Alberto is symbolic of the out and proud friends we have all had before coming out of the closet. In the storyline, they fixate on the idea of owning a Vespa. Vespa is an exciting choice for the story because it can have many representations.
Vespa Adventures about Friendship
Firstly, the Vespa represents the freedom that we all desire in the LGBTQ community. This is a clear allusion to the oppression we face daily. At one point, both Luca and Alberto are riding together on a Vespa and around them forms a group of colorful motorbikes.
They make up all the rainbow flag colors. This shows a desire for a sense of belonging. As members of the LGBTQ community, we often have this aspiration to feel like we belong to a greater community of people like us.
Too often, we deny ourselves acceptance because of our inner limitations or fears. This results in drug use akin to them going higher and higher on the Vespa.
They are hoping for something better before crashing into a whirlwind of terror and pain, which causes meditation on grief before accepting ourselves.
Both children in the film decide to run away to a neighboring seaside town in the Italian countryside. This decision is a dawning gay moment I am sure we have all felt – the need to escape and run from the fears that we are internalizing.
A pivotal scene in the film is when the two boys swim together towards what they hope is their new and ideal community. Alberto effortlessly glides through the ocean water switching between human and sea-dwelling self. Luca then has a realization that he no longer needs to hide his true form, and we see the development of his coming-out story.
A Conservative Town On The Italian Coast
Upon arrival to the Italian seaside town, both boys take human form to conceal their true identities.
The boys witness their kind being hunted and killed by fisherman solely because they are different, and the land “monsters” are scared of their kind. This is far too similar to what we see in the world today. We live in a time where we are denounced and ostracized by the heterosexual world.
The boys meet a girl named Guilia, and they bond through a friendship that survives the trials and tribulations that we all experience during our coming out journeys. Giulia’s introduction is vital because she forms central relationships with both boys. She is reminiscent of the gay girlfriend that we have all had. Even in the film, the boys deny telling her about their true selves until it reaches its conclusion.
We have all experienced friendship before girlfriends and boyfriends and having the gay best friend who becomes upset with us due to a developing relationship. A similar experience plays out in the film, and Alberto starts to become frustrated with Luca.
Alberto reminds them of their dream of Endless scooter rides, which is an allegory for people who are not coming to terms with accepting themselves as an LGBTQ community member and still feel the need to run.
At the end of the film, there is an obvious reference about the identity of gay community members and how we feel that we do not belong. The bonds of friendship that we develop throughout our lives become our chosen family, and this story proves that together we achieve more for acceptance than we do trying to accomplish things alone.
Do you agree with us? Please let us know with a comment and as always, have a gay day!