The Story of Luke

The Story of Luke is a 2012 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Alonso Mayo. It is Mayo's first feature-length film and tells the story of Luke, a young man with autism who embarks on a quest for a job and a girlfriend. It stars Lou Taylor Pucci, Seth Green, Cary Elwes and Kristin Bauer.[1][2]

The Story of Luke
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlonso Mayo
Produced byJulien Favre
Nina Leidersdorff
Fred Roos
Written byAlonso Mayo
StarringLou Taylor Pucci
Seth Green
Cary Elwes
Kristin Bauer
Music byMateo Messina
CinematographyDavid Klein
Edited byVikash Patel
DViant Films
Fluid Film
Distributed byGravitas Ventures
Release date
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited States




The film was inspired by director Alonso Mayo's experiences at Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú.[3] While finishing his undergrad studies in film and journalism in Peru, Mayo helped produced a series of training videos for creating supported employment programs and met many men and women with autism and other developmental disabilities.[4][5] Later, while writing the screenplay for The Story of Luke, Mayo returned to Centro Ann Sullivan del Perú on a research trip and shot the documentary Just Like Anyone.[6]


The Story of Luke was produced by DViant Films and Fluid Film. Filming took place in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada in 23 days in August and September 2011.[7][8] To prepare for the role of Luke, Lou Taylor Pucci spent time with young men with autism spectrum disorders in Sault Ste. Marie.[2]


The Story of Luke premiered at the 2012 San Diego Film Festival, where it won Best Film.[9] It has gone on to win over 20 film festival awards including Best Film at San Antonio Film Festival,[10] Garden State Film Festival[11] and San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.[12] It was released theatrically and on demand in the United States and Canada on April 5, 2013 by Gravitas Ventures.[13][14] It was released on DVD on August 6, 2013.[15]


Autism community reception

The Story of Luke received positive reviews from the autism community, especially for Lou Taylor Pucci's portrayal of a man with autism.[16][17][18][19][20] Psychology Today columnist and autism advocate Chantal Sicile-Kira wrote, "Most parents of youths with autism will find this movie uplifting and encouraging—we all hope and wish our youths will be successful in finding employment and someone to love… Lou Taylor Pucci's portrayal of Luke is spot on. His manners, gestures and tone of voice feel authentic."[21]

The film also received the endorsement of advocacy organization Autism Speaks. Leslie Long, Director of Housing and Adult Services wrote, "Luke transforms the people around him that were under the assumption they would be caring for him. This is not unique but not often discussed either. Most people have not had the pleasure of really knowing someone with autism in all facets of their lives so they miss the nuances of their humor or the effortless ways they tell the whole truth."[22]

Critical reception

The Story of Luke garnered mostly positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an 80% approval rating based on 5 reviews.[23]

Mark Olsen of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Mayo's script avoids turning Luke into some wise holy fool, allowing him to make missteps along the way... "The Story of Luke" is not a saga of epic proportions, but with a huge assist from Pucci’s layered performance, takes a premise that could easily be movie-of-the-week sappy and finds a humanizing lightness."[24]

Daniel M. Gold of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Pucci (“Thumbsucker,” “The Music Never Stopped”) gives a thoughtful and nuanced performance but gets few favors from the script, which puts him front and center in almost every scene… the film serves as a modest reminder that the challenges of autism may sometimes be no more daunting or fearsome than those that face anyone in search of an independent life."[25]

In a more mixed review, Chuck Wilson of The Village Voice called it "a charming little film in need of a bit more grit… Luke faces challenges, to be sure, both within himself and out in the world, but even the meanies at the office are only sitcom-mean. In the end, Luke's path to self-empowerment is funny and sweet and a little too easy."[26]


List of awards and nominations
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
San Diego Film Festival[27][28] September 29, 2012 Best Film The Story of Luke Won
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival[29] November 14, 2012 Audience Award for Best American Indie The Story of Luke Won
Bahamas International Film Festival[30] December 9, 2012 Audience Award for Best Narrative The Story of Luke Won
Irvine International Film Festival[31] January 21, 2013 Best Feature Narrative The Story of Luke Won
Best 1st Time Director Alonso Mayo Won
Best Actor Lou Taylor Pucci Won
Best Trailer The Story of Luke Won
The Saint Augustine Film Festival[32] January 25, 2013 People’s Choice Award for Best Film The Story of Luke Won
San Francisco IndieFest[33] February 22, 2013 Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature The Story of Luke Won
Festivus film festival[34] February 23, 2013 Best Narrative Feature The Story of Luke Won
San Luis Obispo International Film Festival[35] March 9, 2013 Best Narrative Feature The Story of Luke Won
Audience Award for Best Narrative Film The Story of Luke Won
Omaha Film Festival[36] March 12, 2013 Audience Choice Award for Best Feature Film The Story of Luke Won
Green Bay Film Festival[37] March 14, 2013 Film Lovers Choice Award The Story of Luke Won
Best Screenplay Alonso Mayo Won
Phoenix Film Festival[38] April 8, 2013 Special Jury Prize Lou Taylor Pucci Won
Garden State Film Festival[39] April 8, 2013 Best Narrative Feature The Story of Luke Won
Sunscreen Film Festival[40] April 23, 2013 Best Film The Story of Luke Won
Arizona International Film Festival[41] April 28, 2013 Special Jury Award for Best Performance Lou Taylor Pucci Won
San Antonio Film Festival[42] June 24, 2013 Grand Prize for Best Film The Story of Luke Won
Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival[43] September 23, 2013 Best Northern Ontario Feature Film The Story of Luke Won


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  2. "EXCLUSIVE: Seth Green and Lou Taylor Pucci Talk The Story of Luke". MovieWeb. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  3. "Autism Gets Hollywood Treatment In 'Story of Luke'". Disability Scoop. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  4. "Life story: Lawrence native's film opens across U.S." Lawrence Journal-World. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
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  14. "'The Story of Luke' Team Goes for the Humor". Variety. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  15. "The Story of Luke". VideoETA. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  16. "The Story of Luke – The autism movie you have to see". Autism from a Father's Point of View. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
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  18. "The Story of Luke". Autism Wonderland. Retrieved 21 April 2013.
  19. "Autism at the Movies: The Story of Luke". The Autism Channel. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  20. "The Story of Luke comes to Autism Live: Lou Pucci". Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
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  22. "The Story of Luke". Autism Speaks. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
  23. "The Story of Luke (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
  24. Olsen, Mark (4 April 2013). "Review: A humanizing lightness in 'The Story of Luke'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  25. Gold, Daniel M. (4 April 2013). "Young Man's Wobbly Steps to Independence". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  26. "The Story of Luke Could Use More Grit". The Village Voice. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
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  28. "2012 San Diego Film Festival Announces Awards". Sandiegoville. Retrieved 4 Oct 2012.
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  30. "BIFF 2012 Competition Winners Announced". Bahamas International Film Festival. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  31. "IRVINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2013 WINNERS". Irvine International Film Festival. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  32. "The Saint Augustine Film Festival". The Saint Augustine Film Festival. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
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  36. "Arts news and notes: Omaha Film Fest hands out awards". Archived from the original on 4 September 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
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  41. "2013 Arizona International Film Festival Best of Category". Arizona International Film Festival. 28 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013.
  42. "The Story of Luke Wins 2013 SAFILM Grand Prize!". San Antonio Film Festival. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  43. "Gabrielle tabbed top Canadian feature at Cinefest Sudbury". The Sudbury Star. Retrieved 23 September 2013.
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