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Autism Gets Hollywood Treatment In ‘Story Of Luke’


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A feature film debuting at movie theaters across the country this week is giving big-screen attention to the desire among many with developmental disabilities for independence as they become adults.

“The Story of Luke” focuses on a 25-year-old with autism who is adjusting to life with relatives after his grandmother — and long-time caretaker — dies. Luke resolves to make it on his own and embarks on a journey to find a job and a girlfriend.

The fictional account is rooted in the real-life experiences of the film’s writer and director, Alonso Mayo, whose mother runs a school for those with developmental disabilities in Peru. Mayo said he was inspired to write the script after seeing many kids from his mother’s school grow into adults who yearned for the same opportunities as their typically developing peers.

“They wanted a girlfriend, they wanted to live on their own,” Mayo said. “I started seeing these young adults having the same issues everyone else has around relationships and independence.”

Since the movie premiered at the San Diego Film Festival in September, it has garnered awards for best film at five festivals. Though the story is aimed at a general audience, Mayo said he took pains to ensure the authenticity of the character portrayals and he’s gotten positive feedback — particularly from parents of those with autism who say the film hits home.

“We wanted to make sure that we were true, that it wasn’t a caricature,” Mayo said. “We want people laughing with Luke, not at Luke.”

Showings of “The Story of Luke” are scheduled at theaters in 14 cities across the country on Friday, with week-long runs beginning the same day in Los Angeles, New York and Ogden, Utah.

In addition, the film will be available on iTunes and through several cable and satellite on-demand services.

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Comments (12 Responses)

  1. PChandler says:

    How long, this time, must we wait until Autism is no longer stereotyped as an Caucasian Male thing? We are just starting to scratch the surface about the whole “Crack Baby” thing where there never were any because it is not possible foe a fetus to become addicted to a substance its mother and father had in their systems at the time of conception and then throughout the pregnancy. How long, this time? I know we are still working on the Black People stereoetyping and the myth that they are minorities (they are not and never have been) and well, we did finally get Homosexuality removed from the DMV classification of Men-tal Ill-ness and Disease. So there is Hope, I guess.

  2. marie camp says:

    The preview of this movie is wonderful. I wish more movies are more heartwarming and sensitive. Unfortunately, most people like blowup movies or zombies. My friends would really enjoy this movie because we all have family members who have autism. Our local theatre won’t invest in something that doesn’t make money, too bad.

  3. Luciana Randall says:

    Please bring this film to Pittsburgh. Since we’re the home of some phenomenal researchers working on brain mapping and also on practical therapeutic applications, along with having great autism supports, groups, outings, and community inclusion focus, we are a magnet for folks with autism. We’ll pack those theaters. Please contact me. lu at autismofpa dot org THANK YOU!

    Luciana Randall, Executive Director
    ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA

  4. Diana Katovitch says:

    It’s great that family members of people with autism think the portrayal was accurate and sympathetic. A few questions, though: what do autistic reviewers think and does Lou Taylor Pucci have autism? If not, why wasn’t an autistic actor cast in the role? Just preliminary questions – I’m still planning to see the film.

  5. chantal sicile-kira says:

    Story of Luke is a great movie, and not just because the main character has autism. It’s just a great story all around.

    Someone in a comment below asked what do autistic reviewers think of this movie – my son is 24 an d has autism and here is his comment: “Luke is justly the nicest person in the movie. He cares for the old man (Grandpa) and has feelings. He tries to be somewhat independent. Really, neurotypicals are very impatient.”

  6. Jenny says:

    I want to see this.

  7. Theresa says:

    Im very interested in seeing this movie my son is a 3yr old autistic boy. Im am very curious to see what the future would be like for an adult. And to an older post my son is black and white and me nor his dad did any drugs.

  8. Jane Strauss says:

    Imagine that! Autistics are people and want the same things that others do! How shocking!!! (Auti$m $peak$ will never believe this!!!!)

  9. Ramona Faraj says:

    This looks like an amazing movie. I want to watch this and I hope so my son who is 20 years old with autism will go with me to watch it.

  10. Victoria King-Voreadi says:

    I didn’t know Autism had been stereotyped as a “Caucasian Male Thing” – I guess I’m out of the loop. I do however think it is wonderful that the world of Autism is being shared and this film could be a great discussion catalyst for high school students. I cannot know what the director and producers set as casting criteria – and I would have to speak with the filmmaker to learn whether the script was developed around the actors they felt best embodied the roles, or if they were aiming to reach a particular demographic. Having worked in film I know how difficult it is to bring a project to fruition – particularly when the subject matter is considered “non-commercial”. A big well done to all who worked together to make this film a reality.

  11. Elaina G. says:

    I work for a non profit agency and have picked up vocational responsibilties. I always watch films like this and keep looking for more. Once I view it, maybe Ill share it with our individuals!

  12. Myra says:

    When will Hollywood do a film that involves someone with severe autism and challenging behaviors like aggression or self abuse? Time and time again, Hollywood has shown they are afraid to tackle this subject, yet it’s one of the dramatic and shocking sides of autism. IT’s easy to write a film about high functioning autism, but apparently there aren’t many creative minds willing to take on writing a film about the life of a severely autistic person and how it changes and touches everyone around them. And how inside even the worst cases of autism, there is always a glimmer of hope and intelligence that we have all yet to discover….this could be the part where the film talks about research being the hope for these more severe types..

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