The best movies to watch on Hulu (August 2022)

Luce

Luce
Photo: Neon

There is a scene at the beginning Luce, a gripping psychodrama about race and preconceptions, as tense as any thriller, and all that really comes down to two people talking in a classroom, their deceptively polite conversation turning into passive-aggressive antagonism . One of the two is the title character, a beaming A student played by Kelvin Harrison Jr. The other is his government and history teacher, Mrs. Wilson (Octavia Spencer), the only teacher at their Virginia high school who ever seems challenge the star athlete, debate club champion and soon-to-be valedictorian — though she too sees him as a “high school role model,” a black kid who rose to the top of the class. Harrison perfectly captures the poise and charisma of an academic golden kid, the kind who knows exactly how to talk to adults, projecting sincerity and gratitude with just a touch of good humor, so as not to come off an overachiever. unlovable, like Tracy Flick. . But the actor also lets us see, early and often, how that friendliness is a sort of facade: a whole fabricated personality that Luce can turn on or off. And as Ms. Wilson carefully interrogates the promising student about an assignment he has given that has raised some red flags for her, her mask of ingratitude slips off, just long enough for him to emit what sounds an awful lot like a veiled threat. It’s a remarkable and chilling performance: from Harrison, yes, but also from his character, playing code-switching mind games with his teacher. [A.A. Dowd]

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