Most people take every day life skills such as getting a job or going out on a date for granted. But for people with autism, these normal activities of life can be quite challenging. “The Story of Luke,” Director/Writer Alonso Mayo’s coming-of-age comedy starring Lou Taylor Pucci (as Luke), Seth Green (as Zach), Cary Elwes (as Uncle Paul) and Kristin Bauer (as Aunt Cindy), brilliantly addresses these delicate issues surrounding autism with lightness, subtlety and truth.
Many scenes really touch your heart…
Like most people Luke’s age, including “Neuro-Typicals (NTs),” Luke, a young man with autism, wants to be independent and embarks on his own journey after his grandmother passes away. He had been raised by and living with his grandparents after his mother abandoned him when he was just a small child. After the funeral, he and his senile grandfather Jonas (Kenneth Welsh) move in with his relatives (Uncle Paul, Aunt Cindy and their two teenager children) who have their own quirky set of problems. Eventually, Jonas is placed in an assisted living home, which leaves Luke to fend for himself with the arena of oddball relatives. Luke decides he has to escape, and the only way to acquire independent living is to get a job. So when he goes to a special placement agency, he falls for Maria (Sabryn Rock) the receptionist. He decides that in order to ask Maria out on a date, he will definitely need to get a job first.
The agency places Luke with a firm that recruits disabled people for training at no pay. There he meets Zach, the eccentric, snippy IT manager, who’s also Luke’s supervisor. He educates Luke on the behaviors and expectations of “NTs” and they develop a friendship based on mutual neediness.
Many scenes really touch your heart, such as the one where Luke decides to “meet” his mother after she had abandoned him years ago. There are also plenty of comedic moments to rescue the audience from any possibility of overly gravitas situations.
Pucci does an outstanding job of portraying a young man with autism. It made me question many times throughout the film whether he actually had the condition or not. Green’s portrayal of Zach is a wonderful ride through a character’s struggle with the brink of insanity as you see him realize that he needed Luke more than Luke needed him.
All in all, I highly recommend that you see this film before it closes, or you will regret missing not just a movie… but a life-changing experience you’ll never forget.
Debra Clark is anchor of the upcoming Autism World News on The Autism Channel.