Disney Pixar's latest feature film, Luca — which was released straight to Disney+ — is a sweet coming-of-age story about a young boy and his newfound best friend who spend a summer having adventures on the Italian Riviera. But they have a pretty big secret: they're both sea monsters who live below the island, and can only take on their human form when dry. It's a fun and entertaining story that has so many lessons weaved in about friendship, acceptance, fitting in, and overcoming your fears; but there are definitely a few other elements you may want to know about before watching with your young children.
Before you have a family movie night with your little ones, read on to see the notes we had while watching Luca, which is now streaming on Disney+.
What to Know Before Watching Luca With Your Kids
- Luca and his friend Alberto are constantly in danger. Whether Alberto is throwing himself off a tall structure to "test gravity" or the boys are facing a situation in which water is involved, thus threatening to expose their true identities to the fishing town, there's a fair amount of peril. However, everything is fleeting, and the duo always manage to come up with a (usually hilarious) way to protect themselves.
- Luca and his friends are bullied. Luca and Alberto's human friend, Giulia, is introduced while being bullied by an older boy. The same character continues to torment all three kids throughout the film, putting them down, making fun of them, and telling them that they're not good enough. This same character turns out to be a huge proponent of spearing spotted sea monsters, so he also technically threatens Luca and Alberto without knowing they're the sea creatures he's hunting.
- Luca betrays Alberto. Luca largely centres on friendship and how to be a good pal, but Luca and Alberto definitely go through some rough patches inspired by jealousy. There's a fight between them at one point, and later, Luca betrays Alberto in a truly jaw-dropping moment. There's nothing to really "look out for" here, but if you're watching with young kids who are developing their own friendships, some of this is worth noting as an aside.
- There isn't much representation. All of the characters in this movie are white, so as far as racial diversity, there isn't any. Giulia's dad, however, has a limb difference.
- Luca disobeys his parents in pursuit of his dreams. Despite them warning Luca not to go above the surface, he continuously defies his well-meaning parents. However, we also find that their sheltering of him was hindering his potential, so there's a lot to be learned from both perspectives. Again, not really anything to look out for, but Luca's behaviour and choices could be worth debriefing with your own young kids.
- There's a fair bit of untranslated Italian. Throughout the film, the characters often use Italian expressions and phrases, and 99 percent of them go untranslated. It's not a huge deal and doesn't take away from the story, but as someone who does speak Italian and caught each little quip, it's a shame to not see subtitles so that everyone can understand and enjoy each line.