Austin Film Festival (AFF)When it comes to books and film, I’m especially drawn to stories that center around grief and familial relationships. Lucas is one such film. At its heart, it’s a story about grief and loss but touches on other topics within this realm.

Lucas follows the title character, a teen struggling after the recent death of his father. He lives with his mother, and their relationship is strained. Money is tight, and Lucas (Jorge Motos) lacks reliable parental provision of attention and everyday necessities.

One day at school, he meets Alvaro (Jorge Cabrera), a photographer who approaches him with an offer of work. At first, Lucas shies away from the stranger but soon changes his mind. Alvaro informs him that he would like to take his photos, for use on various social media accounts. He tells Lucas he will use these accounts to only speak with teenage girls.

Despite some skepticism, Lucas accepts the opportunity in light of his crumbling home life and desire for income. Not long after, he questions his involvement once again, but it’s not so easy to remove himself from his relationship with Alvaro, which has developed into a friendship of sorts.

If I had to categorize this film, I’d call it a mix between drama and psychological thriller. It’s a well-developed story that’s heavy on emotion. Built upon the title character’s grief, this story builds stronger as it branches out to address grief and loss across supporting characters. It also touches upon forgiveness and questions of morality, among other areas. I found it both unsettling and heartwarming at times, yet I questioned my judgment in regards to the appropriateness of the on-screen relationships. Good films often do make us ask questions of not only the characters, but also ourselves, and Lucas certainly delivers in that regard.

The solid story is enhanced by award-winning cinematography and acting. The entire cast gives authentic performances that enhance the viewer’s empathy for the characters. I also thought that the score was well done, as it amplified the tension at the right moments.

I’ve been a fan of Spanish horror for a while now, but Lucas sparked an interest in exploring different genres from Spanish filmmakers, and I’d definitely watch more from writer and director Alex Montoya.

Lucas reviewed as part of our Austin Film Festival (AFF) coverage.

 

8 out of 10

 

Lucas
RATING: NR
Runtime: 1 Hr. 32 Mins.
Directed By:
Written By:

 

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