“The Story of Luke” breaks the Hollywood mold

Visit the "Story of Luke" web siteThe single, twenty-something man is a role Hollywood is no stranger to. Films consistently revolve their plots around the trials and tribulations young men face while attempting to navigate adulthood.

I recently came across a trailer for an upcoming film titled “The Story of Luke.” Before watching the trailer I assumed “The Story of Luke” would follow the typical Hollywood formula. At the surface, central character Luke is a 25 year old man who is jobless and looking for love. As a twenty-something myself, I say, “Welcome to the club, Luke!”

After viewing the trailer I learned this film completely breaks the traditional Hollywood mold. Yes, Luke is a quirky character. Yes, he is single and unemployed. But his role is something that the entertainment industry repeatedly ignores, Luke has autism. The film follows Luke as he adjusts to life after his grandmother (and primary caretaker) passes away.

Luke’s autism is approached in a realistic manner. He is not Dustin Hoffman’s savant character from “Rain Man.” Luke isn’t a human calculator who counts cards, but this does not make him any less of a compelling character. Director Alfonso Mayo approached Luke’s autism in a way that best reflects those living with autism. Mayo’s mother runs a school in Peru for those with developmental disabilities. Many of the school members served as inspiration for the film. Mayo stressed that Luke would not be perceived as a caricature. “We want people laughing with Luke, not at Luke,” Mayo said in an interview with Disability Scoop.

Hollywood take note, autism is NOT a setback, nor is it only interesting in the form of a genius character. Luke’s experience is just like the rest of my generation’s, autism or not. His determination is something all millennial kids can relate to. There is something magical about the way movies affect us. We laugh with them, we cry with them, and we relate to them. Thanks “Bridget Jones’s Diary” for teaching me that it’s OK to eat Ben & Jerry’s in bed!

More than anything else, movies have the ability to inform in an entertaining manner. If Hollywood continues to portray autism in this normalized, realistic way, society will rethink their perceptions. Hats off to you Alfonso Mayo! Hopefully Hollywood will soon follow your lead.

“The Story of Luke” is currently doing the film festival circuit (to rave reviews). The movie is available on both Itunes and Amazon. To learn more about the film you can check out the “Story of Luke” website.


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