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New Pixar Film 'Luca' Spotlights Disabled Character

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a huge fan of Pixar. It started when I was 7, and the original “Toy Story” film came out. I watched the film and would then act out the scenes with my toys. This, without me knowing, helped me build my communication skills as an autistic child who grew up with challenges in that area. Later on, I’d become fascinated by a wide range of movies that helped with my “tunnel vision,” also known as the inability at times to understand the perspectives of others. Watching so many characters over my life helped me open up to understanding how others think and feel.

I was reminded of these experiences recently when Pixar’s new film “Luca” premiered on Disney+. Disney + says of the film, “Set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, Disney and Pixar’s ‘Luca’ is a coming-of-age story about a young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer. Luca shares these adventures with his friend, Alberto, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: they are sea monsters from another world below the water’s surface.”

As a disability advocate, I was very excited to find out that this film featured Massimo Marcovaldo – father of one of the main protagonists in the movie, Giulia. He has a limb difference and is a congenital amputee who was born without one arm. While his disability is only briefly mentioned, representing those with disabilities (who comprise the largest minority in the United States) is essential. I have taken my love of films to work as an autism entertainment consultant today to bring a realistic portrayal of different disabilities to the screen. Disabled people getting spotlighted in our entertainment industry is lovely to see.

Many congenital amputees were born without a limb due to amniotic band syndrome. As part of my video series where I give a platform for people impacted by a diagnosis to share their stories, I spotlighted a young woman named Kelsey who was born without her right hand and dreams of pursuing a singing career. That was my first introduction to limb differences.

I recommend “Luca” with no reservations and applaud Disney and Pixar for this step towards more inclusion of those with disabilities in the entertainment industry.

A version of this article was previously published on

Image via YouTube.

Originally published: June 30, 2021
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