Luce was adopted by Amy and Peter Edgar from war-torn Eritrea and after an alarming discovery by high school teacher Harriet Wilson everything is about to be questioned.
During his High School life Luce had been the perfect student along with an all star athlete, so it seemed anyway to the teachers and principal and his parents. He can do nothing wrong but when an essay he wrote is flagged by teacher Harriet Wilson who then has a meeting with Amy. Along with that during a locker search she found illegal fireworks, which along with the way he wrote the essay does not come across well at all. Given that Luce had been a child solider and wrote about Frantz Fanon.
The worst thing about Harriet highlighting this was that she was actually trying to help Luce and his parents. She did not want someone who did not actually know him making a snap judgement on what he had written. I personally thought that was actually a sign of a very good teacher, caring and trying to protect her students?
Then as it unravels it certainly seems that Luce has something against her as she pretty much has him down as a star student and that is not really want he wants. These issues begin to create a divide between Amy and Peter when they make different decisions based on the evidence. We also then get to see Rosemary who is Harriet’s sister suffering from mental health issues, we are never actually told what these are but it is something that Harriet has to deal with. Another thing I felt was harsh was a comment that if her sister was like that when what is she capable of, I found that to be rather upsetting to be used against her. Not forgetting Stephanie Kim and the possibility of her suffering from sexual assault.
As things develop further an interesting comparison of Luce and DeShaun a student who had been kicked out of school and therefore losing his chance of an athletic career, that stereotypes are used against people no matter on the age. That did make some interesting moments but was tough to take in all together. We don’t get answers to all of the questions that the film raises, which is perfectly fine as we can judge for ourselves. It was compelling enough viewing albeit a little slow at times.
The performances were good though and I was very impressed with Kelvin Harrison Jr in the leading role, an engaging and interesting character with many issues going on. Especially when he is acting opposite Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts and Tim Roth. Certainly shows that he has an incredible amount of potential. I seriously cannot believe how amazing Spencer is though, like has she ever not put in a good performance? She always brings the highest quality of acting (yes, I have seen Ma) and a true pleasure to watch. In terms of support I felt as though Andrea Bang was very good in her small role as Stephanie.
My expectations were rather high for this film which I think did not help overall when I then felt a little bit let down. Mainly because the story was not as engaging as I had hoped from seeing the trailers late last year. Especially considering I do enjoy a good thriller as well as films based on a play due to the dialogue heavy nature I just found this lacklustre in the end. I do wish I had got round to seeing it at the cinema when first released though as it might have made my opinion better before the hype.