186 user 103 critic

Luce (2019)

2:37 | Trailer
A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.


Julius Onah


J.C. Lee (screenplay by) (as JC Lee), Julius Onah (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »
3 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Naomi Watts ... Amy Edgar
Octavia Spencer ... Harriet Wilson
Kelvin Harrison Jr. ... Luce Edgar
Tim Roth ... Peter Edgar
Norbert Leo Butz ... Principal Dan
Andrea Bang ... Stephanie Kim
Marsha Stephanie Blake ... Rosemary
Astro ... Deshaun Meeks
Omar Shariff Brunson Jr. ... Corey Johnson (as Omar Brunson)
Noah Gaynor ... Kenny Orlicki
Christopher Mann ... Coach Reeves
Hannah Cabell ... Lena Tennyson
Colton Osorio ... Little Boy
Gibson Frazier ... Man
Ian Unterman ... Other Man


A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Truth Has Many Faces


Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, nudity and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Kelvin Harrison Jr. actually wrote a paper on Frantz Fanon as part of his research for the role; Octavia Spencer then graded it, and that paper is the one seen onscreen. See more »


When Amy is in her car following Luce who is on foot, she is travelling visibly quicker than he is yet never catches up or gets closer to him. See more »


Luce Edgar: When I first met my mother, she couldn't pronounce my name. My father suggested that they rename me. They picked Luce, which means light.
See more »


Origami Tiger
Written by Kate Miner
Performed by Briana Lane and Kate Miner aka Winslow
By arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

User Reviews

Is Kelvin Harrison Jr. an actor or is he manipulating me into thinking he's one...? *Mind Blown*
8 December 2019 | by TheCasualReviewerSee all my reviews

The collective performance of this ensemble is something else.

SYNOPSIS: Luce (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is your ideal son/student/role model. Star of the track team and the student you expect to make the commencement speech for his college graduation. However, with a tension forming between Luce and his teacher Ms. Wilson (Octavia Spencer) things begin to get stranger as you're forced to question whether Luce's intentions are pure or cynical.

DIRECTION: Julius Onah captures an atmosphere that just about suffocates you with suspicion and tension. Onah really makes you feel a few of his scenes due to angles and positions that manipulates your thoughts the same way Harrison Jr. does with his performance. Not the most unique direction, but good enough to elevate the film.

WRITING: What's so hard about reviewing this film is I can't tell what it was that really affected me whether it was the Directing, Writing, Acting or all of the above. This film itself is a manipulation. I think a large part of this is due to the writing. It's so precise and at times maybe too precise where it can be unbelievable at times.

ACTING: Kelvin Harrison Jr.. I could leave this at that, which is crazy because the rest of the ensemble was SO good. What the fluff is going on with these performances not getting any Oscar buzz? Just because you expect damn near perfect performances from a Naomi Watts and Tim Roth means they don't deserve to be talked about? Honestly, I'll chalk this up to poor marketing. This might be the least marketed film of the year with star power like that. I only knew of this film due to one trailer I saw from a film way back. Anyway, if I had my choice of Kelvin "The Ultimate Manipulator" Harrison Jr. being nominated for Best Actor, he would be right behind Adam Driver. Some short, but affective performances from Andrea Bang and Holy shift it's Astro from the US edition of The X Factor.

CONCLUSION: This is a really well made film from Julius Onah and incredible performances from the entire ensemble. Wasn't enough to get 4/5 stars just because it didn't reach a level I really saw this film having the potential to reach. If you're looking for strong acting and tense dialogue this is a perfect fit for you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

23 August 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Luce See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$132,987, 4 August 2019

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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