Pixar’s latest movie is winning over fans for an unexpected reason. Immediately after Luca premiered on Disney+ on Friday, June 18, Twitter exploded with overjoyed reactions, with several viewers claiming it marked the studio’s first LGBTQ+ film. Although the story of two young sea monsters trying to pass as humans in a small Italian fishing town is never explicitly gay, it’s easy to see how fans took an inclusive meaning from the queer-coded movie.
Even before it hit Disney+, there was a lot of speculation that Pixar’s new release may be its first LGBTQ+ coming-of-age story. Mostly, that was because the movie seemed to very closely mirror 2017’s Call Me By Your Name, and the theme of two boys hiding their true selves from an unaccepting society spoke for itself. However, director Enrico Casarosa emphatically denied the film is telling a queer story. “We really willfully went for a pre-pubescent story,” Casarosa told Yahoo. “This is all about platonic friendships.”
Still, it’s difficult not to graft a queer reading onto Luca. The movie follows the eponymous young sea monster who hesitantly follows his dream of exploring life on land with the help of his adventurous friend Alberto. The two boys are able to disguise themselves as humans while above the sea, but must avoid water at all costs since it triggers their transformation. To make matters worse, the town they chose to explore is particularly keen on hunting sea monsters, and Luca’s parents worry the townspeople will never be able to accept him if they discovered his secret.
Spoiler alert: Some of the following tweets include spoilers about the ending of Luca. For many LGBTQ+ viewers, this story hit home, and they took to Twitter to celebrate Luca as a queer-coded film.
While many fans loved Luca’s nod to the LGBTQ+ communities, others thought the film’s refusal to openly address gay themes meant it didn’t fo far enough in terms of representation. This rings especially true given the flack Disney has gotten for claiming to introduce its “first openly gay” character in various live-action movies, all of which were relegated to laughably small background moments.
The one thing everyone seems to be agreeing on, though, is that Luca is an incredibly heartwarming and visually stunning movie, so it’s well worth checking out on Disney+.