I went to see The Story of Luke at the Garden State Film Festival last weekend. My cousin Lou Taylor plays the lead role, a young man on the Asperger’s end of the autism spectrum who is forced to get a job when his grandparents pass away, and he moves in with his uncle’s not-so-happy familly.
This is a movie that could have tread familiar territory- Rain Man and Down & Out in Beverly Hills- but it goes its own way. Lou never breaks out of his shell, he remains true to his character, and navigates life with his own pair of glasses. We see him contrasted with his grandfather, who has dementia, and the pathology of everyday people blindered by their own choices.
Seth Green is hilarious as a demented I.T. supervisor who sees him as a kindred spirit, and Cary Elwes is perfectly subdued as the successful man whose family is falling apart. Luke does not bring everyone together and save the world. He is an agent of change, but merely because his obsession is cooking shows, and he makes a few good meals.
The movie stays a comedy, and Luke remains who he is. Families of autistic children are championing the film at festivals because it gives a much-needed realistic and lighthearted view of the spectrum, where it isn’t a tragedy or a burden, but also doesn’t dodge the difficulties that family members have when dealing with autistic relatives. I enjoyed it a lot, and forgot I was watching my cousin up there.
You can watch The Story of Luke on iTunes or On Demand PPV, and in various local theaters.