pumpkin person rating: 9/10
I recently watched Luce (2019) and I proclaim it one of the best films of the year. The film is about a light skinned African child soldier who is adopted by upper-class white parents and blossoms into the star of his high school. The white teachers and peers crown him their Golden boy because he is bright, articulate, polite, athletic, and has a nice smile. He is constantly asked to give speeches to the entire school, and much like Obama, held up as an example of the American dream.
However his history teacher, portrayed flawlessly by Octavia Spencer, begins to worry that Luce is too good to be true. As a dark skinned overweight black woman like Oprah, she had to claw her way up the ladder using hard work and brains, not having the luxury of being a light skinned male with upper-class white parents.
Realizing this teacher is a problem, he mysteriously starts charming her mentally ill younger sister, even suggesting the teacher invite her to school to see one of his speeches.
Of course the last thing this dignified teacher wants is for the white suburban school to know she has a schizophrenic sister with what appears to be an IQ around 70, resulting in one of the most graphic and humiliating scenes in movie history.
Was this all part of Luce’s master plan? The film doesn’t say, forcing the viewer to decide whether Luce is a misunderstood victim of society’s expectations, or a charming sociopath manipulating everyone.
The film is so good that a racist might assume it was written and directed by whites, but in fact the director and writers are black. When I learned this, I immediately suspected (correctly) that the director and co-writer was born in Africa, because such talent is more likely to be found among elite immigrants than the native population of any race.
However the Nigerian director (Julius Onah) gives much of the credit to his co-writer JC Lee who looks like a scrawny giggling Australian aboriginal with ripped jeans, though I suspect he’s African American.