If you’re queer and a Disney fan, you’ve no doubt watched the new Pixar movie Luca and have picked up on the HEAVY queer-coding between Luca and Alberto.
Here’s my take on why I don’t think it’s ‘coded’ but rather blatantly queer.
So, yes the director has stated he didn’t ‘plan’ for it to ‘come across like a gay romance’ but keep in mind that most people who work at Disney can end up under very strict rules in regards to discussing LGBTQ+ topics publicly. Disney parks actors are reportedly not even allowed to say ‘gay rights’ or ‘happy pride’ so it’s understandable that the people involved in creating Luca refuse to openly say it’s a gay story.
But the fact of the matter is IT IS. And here is my argument as to why.
First of all it’s obvious right off the bat when you begin the movie that it is serving strong Little Mermaid vibes. Alberto collecting human objects, Luca dreaming of going to the surface and his parents saying no and forbidding it. All things from the classic Little Mermaid. But how is The Little Mermaid queer you ask? I’ll tell you.
The Little Mermaid, the Disney film is obviously based on the Hans Christian Anderson fairytale and Hans Christian Anderson was a bisexual man who put blatant coming out metaphors into his original tale. Then when Howard Ashman came along to write the Disney adaptation he also put heavy queer elements into it. Ashman was an openly gay man suffering from AIDS during the AIDS epidemic and those themes definitely showed up not just in The Little Mermaid but in all his Disney Renaissance films. And of course, Ursula was modeled after a drag queen.
How else was Luca a queer masterpiece? The entire narrative parallels the coming out experience. When Luca’s parents learn he’s been going to the surface to spend time with a boy there they decide to send him away to ‘The Deep’ a horrible dark and desolate part of the ocean to help him ‘straighten out’ this is an OBVIOUS nod to conversion therapy, a tragedy that befalls many queer kids/teens when they try and come out to their parents. We also see parental rejection in Alberto when we learn that his father abandoned him.
When Luca runs away with Alberto they then of course have to hide who they are from everyone around them because sea monsters have been vilified by the town. Again, this is an obvious metaphor for homophobia. Showing that Luca and Alberto can only be their true selves when they’re in private.
Also, speaking of their true selves, their sea monster colors combined make up the colors of the men loving men (mlm) pride flag.
Alberto also soon shows tell tale signs of jealousy over the fact that Luca begins to spend time with Giulia alone. It is clear it is not the kind of jealousy one holds for someone they only view as a friend.
Later in the film when Alberto shows Giulia that he is a sea monster he hopes that Luca will join him in this (again OBVIOUS) metaphor for coming out. But Luca is terrified and treats Alberto like a monster, going along with the societal expectation to condemn sea monsters.
Later, when Luca lets the rain fall on him, exposing his true sea monster self in order to save Alberto this is the ultimate expression of true love. Then when the two stop to help Giulia after she’s hurt, we see that while many people in the town still hate and distrust sea monsters, many people, including Giullia’s dad who up until this moment had also shown hatred towards sea monsters, realizes the mistake in his long held prejudice and having grown to know Luca and Alberto he openly accepts them for who they are.
And in one of the most beautiful and heartwarming shots of the entire film, we see a couple of elderly women that had been in a few scenes as background characters, let their umbrellas down so the rain can fall on them and reveal that they too are sea monsters. And clearly, sapphic women.
In the second to last scene we see Luca, Alberto and Luca’s family celebrating with Giulia’s family. A beautiful found family scene that so many of us queer kids either had growing up, or desperately wish we had. We learn that Luca’s mother fears (and has always feared) that Luca will essentially be a victim of a hate crime because she knows how awful the world can be towards sea monsters. The same way that even today so many people are so hateful to queer people. But Luca’s grandmother assures her:
“Some people, they’ll never accept him, but some will. And he seems to know how to find the good ones.”
This is such a beautiful encapsulation of what it is like to exist in the world as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Not everyone will see you as a whole person and accept you for who you are. Some will be downright hateful. But some will be loving and wonderfully supportive. The film Luca shows what it is like to finally find those individuals who stand by you no matter what.
Lastly, the ending is one of the most obviously romantic scenes ever. With Alberto and Luca sharing a tearful goodbye as Luca tells Alberto he can’t go without him and Alberto assures him he’ll be okay. Then Alberto holds Luca’s hand, chasing after him for as long as he can.
People have argued this isn’t a gay movie because they’re kids and to insist that they’re gay is inappropriate because it’s a children’s film. This is an incredibly ignorant and homophobic argument. Many people have childhood loves. And to insinuate that putting gay characters in a children’s story is somehow inherently bad and not suitable for children to see only continues to invalidate LGBTQ+ youths, and children who have queer parents, friends, family members. Luca and Alberto are at an age the director described as ‘pre-romance’ they are finding themselves, discovering who they are and what it means to form a true and intimate bond with someone. They are at an age where it is normal to question your feelings and sexuality. It is perfectly normal and okay and BEAUTIFUL for these two boys to be gay and feeling childhood versions of love and the early stages of what could one day become a budding romance toward one another.
No one would ever argue that Peter Pan and Wendy weren’t in love even though they were kids. So ask yourself, if Luca’s character was a girl would these homophobic viewers still argue there was no budding childhood romance written into the story? No, they wouldn’t.
Also, they released this movie during Pride Month. I mean, COME ON.
So that’s my take on why Luca is a blatantly gay movie. I am so happy that kids will now have this movie to watch while growing up. I wish there had been a movie like this for me when I was a kid. A beautiful film that normalizes and celebrates queer kids and queer love.
Happy Pride Month everyone.
7K notes · View notes