Luce, an adopted former child soldier from Eritrea, has turned into an all-star student. But this image is challenged after an alarming discovery by a high school teacher.
Language: English, Dutch subtitles
Julius Onah, 2019
Seventeen-year-old Luce (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) is a beloved jock, a debate-team captain and one of the brightest, most ambitious student of his class. Luce is exemplary. He is, the movie quietly reminds, also African-American and there’s baggage to be mined there. His parents Amy and Peter (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth), who adopted him from a war-torn Eritrea, where he was a child soldier, have given him everything in life and Luce has taken advantage of those privileges to build a promising future.
However, Luce’s idealized image of black excellence is challenged when Mrs. Wilson (Octavia Spencer), a black teacher known to be tougher on African-American students, discovers fireworks in his locker. Opening the locker without his consent, she’s been being alarmed by an essay he wrote about African writer Frantz Fanon, praising the Pan-Africanist’s support of violence to defeat colonization. Wilson doesn’t confront Luce about the essay or fireworks; she instead goes to his parents, which sparks intense debate about race, class warfare and whether Luce is actually guilty of anything.
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