Luca is a 2021 Pixar animated film directed by Enrico Casarosa and the screenplay was created by Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones. The film follows 3 kids and their summer adventure in Italy, where they start out as strangers, and end as a family. Luca is a sea creature who is forbidden from traveling to the surface world out of fear of being hunted. His curiosity eventually gets the best of him and he travels onto the surface when he meets Alberto. Alberto is a fellow sea creature, but he’s been living on land in an abandoned tower. The two boys become friends instantly and share a common goal of owning a Vespa and seeing the world. Luca’s parents send him away after they discover that he’s been traveling to the surface, but in retaliation Luca and Alberto run away. They end up in Portorosso and meet the third member of their friend group Giulia. From there they team up with the goal of winning the Portorosso Cup, which would allow them to get enough money to win the Vespa. The film shows the ups and downs of a new friendship, as well as showing that being able to get through the rocky times, will lead to friends becoming a family.
Giulia has participated in the triathlon to win the Portorosso Cup for many years, but has never won. Now that she has two new people on her team, she has a lot to teach them. Alberto and Luca have never done anything like this before, so they have to juggle learning how to competitively swim, bike, and eat, while also hiding that they’re sea creatures from Giulia and the town. Giulia and her father allow for the boys to stay with them and this starts their one week to train. The first obstacle that the friends have to face is Luca’s parents coming to Portorosso to get him. Luca and Alberto have to make sure they evade his parents, since they’re going to take him back home, before they can participate in the triathlon. They know that Luca’s parents don’t know exactly what he looks like when he’s in human form, so they’re going to be checking all the children they interact with to narrow it down, which allows for Luca to avoid them. They also have to deal with Ercole Visconti, the winner of the Portorosso Cup for the last five years, who bothers Giulia, Luca, and Alberto at every chance he gets. Ercole is a harder obstacle to deal with since he’s always around and he eventually finds out that Alberto is a sea creature.
Alberto notices Giulia and Luca getting close and becomes jealous. He’s afraid that he’s going to lose Luca to Giulia because they have a common love for learning and they’ve been able to become close in such a short time. Alberto was abandoned by his father when he was young and that trauma still follows him. He’s afraid of being abandoned and because of that he starts to act out towards Giulia and Luca, which leads to him and Luca having a fight, which eventually leads to him exposing himself as a sea creature in front of Giulia. Ercole was lurking nearby and sees Alberto in his other form, which leads to Luca pretending to be scared with Giulia, and Alberto running away. Luca feels guilty after the whole, tells Giulia the truth, attempts to make amends with Alberto, but fails, and declares he’s going to do the triathlon himself and make up for everything.
The triathlon begins and Luca is able to make it through the swimming without getting wet because of a diving suit, get through the eating portion, and the last leg of the race is the biking. It starts to rain while Luca is biking which leads him to being hesitant and hiding out of the water. Albetro then comes running with an umbrella to help cover him, but he’s kicked over by Ercole, and that reveals to Alberto as a sea creature in front of everyone. Ercole grabs a net to capture Alberto and in that moment Luca rushes out into the rain and grabs Alberto to finish the race. Everyone sees Alberto and Luca in their sea creature form and goes to capture them. Giulia falls behind the boys and they go back to grab her to finish as a team. The town is fearful of Luca and Alberto, but they quickly change their tune when they realize that the boys aren’t a threat. The town was able to see their friendship blossom over the last week as they were preparing for the triathlon and they accept Alberto and Luca for being sea creatures. The group is able to win the Portorosso Cup and they are able to transform from friends into a family. The group’s bond was growing as they were preparing to the competition and after being able to overcome all the obstacles that came their way, their bond was made closer. The importance of friendship can often go overlooked. We often don’t see how much of an impact our friends have on us and we don’t pay attention to when our friends become our family. We go through the ups and downs and still manage to make it through it and come out if it a better person, we enter a space where that bond we have as friends can’t be broken, and we officially are family.