Planner . Filmmaker . Edmontonian
The Story of Luke
The Story of Luke
By Adam Bentley
Autism is a little-understood neurological condition that, according to one’s opinion, traps its victims in their own world, or allows them to excel in new creative abilities…but in many cases both. In The Story of Luke, young man Luke (Lou Taylor Pucci) is a fantastic cook and very organized but unable to properly socialize with other neurologically typical people or “NT”s. When his grandparents who raised him in a nurturing but sheltered environment die, he must move in with his aunt (Kristin Bauer), uncle (Cary Elwes), and cousins (Tyler Stentiford, Mackenzie Munro) until everyone figures out where he can “be properly treated”. Living with other NTs makes Luke realize what he wants most is to “get a job so I can screw like other boys my age.” His job search leads to a web-based company and cynical Autistic manager Zack (Seth Green). The two men form an unlikely bond to help each other learn how to communicate with NTs.
Luke is a kind, naïve, and optimistic guy who seeks the help of NTs to be able to function in their world. However, while he is a fairly high-functioning person with Autism who has clearly received comprehensive therapy, his obsession with watching a certain cooking program prevents him from taking the time to nurture meaningful relationships with other people. He repeats what NTs say to help him properly communicate. When under stress, Luke displays behaviour typical of Autistic people such as fidgeting with his hands, rocking back and forth, and not looking at other people’s eyes.
Zack is a cynical and aggressive person with Autism who takes out the rage he experiences due to not being able to communicate with NTs on Luke, who does not question Zack’s motives due to Zack’s position of authority over him. Zack obsessively builds a computer program that uses face-recognition software to help Autistic people (specifically him) learn how to communicate with NTs.
Both Luke and Zack clearly want the same thing, a genuine romantic connection with a woman. However, since Zack has been rejected in the past and has had to lie about his true self to maintain a relationship, he is therefore very jaded about NTs’ ability to tolerate Autistic people. The director, Alonso Mayo hired Green to give his film some star power. However Green overplayed his character due to his developed talents as a comedian and Zack comes across as more of a clownish caricature than a sympathetic person in pain.
Luke has not experienced enough of the pain of rejection to become as jaded as Zack and pursues love interest Maria (Sabryn Rock) despite the highly unlikely chance that she would accept his offer to take her out on a date. When, as expected, Maria rejects his offer, Luke proudly tells his uncle that he is learning how to use the Internet, where “there are at least 3.2 billion females” and vows not to let the daunting task of sorting through them stop him from screwing.