At first glance, a story about a traumatized and miraculously healed former Eritrean boy soldier. Adopted by near-perfect parents and plunked down in solidly middle class America, Luce has blossomed into the perfect teen. Charismatic, adult beyond his years and prodigious in his presentation, he wows them time and time again. Seeing something else beyond his poster boy smile, his mother probes, and a movie is born.
Director Julius Onah’s breakout piece, based on the play by J.C. Lee, is shaky at times, rambling through what seems red herrings as well as clues. Even so, the finished product does a remarkable turn of the tables. (CONTINUED)