Thrifty, fun, and drippingly sexy, Sophie Hyde’s Good Luck to You, Leo Grande features a pair of charming performances from Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack to deliver one of the most delightful films of the year
Nancy Stokes (Thompson) is a 55-year-old widow with a boring, conventional life following a boring and conventional marriage. In order to experience some much-needed adventure, she hires sex worker Leo Grande (McCormack) to fulfill her needs. Over multiple sessions, Nancy wants to experience everything she has never had the chance to. Maybe she can even find some pleasure while she’s at it.
This film is a great example of how filmmakers have had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much like Windfall, Hyde adapts the story to enable a limited amount of actors in a confined space. Just as it worked for that film, it works wonders here. It never feels like a pandemic production because of how intimate the actors are with each other.
The film hits on some fascinating themes, including (but not limited to) self-esteem, body dysmorphia, sex work, social stigmas related to sex, and plenty others. More than anything, it focuses on how sad a life with unfulfilled passion looks like. One of the more devastating scenes finds Nancy recounting her sex life with her husband. She speaks about a man she loved deeply but had no passion for.
Thompson is her regularly magnificent self. While personifying the repressed, uptight persona, she adapts to let her character relax and feel much more at ease with herself. She does not dive into this venture lightly and commits herself fully to what the film is asking of her. Relative newcomer McCormack is in no way overmatched by the two-time Oscar winner. He is pure charisma and charm. He is more of a cypher than a person, but his own personality begins to shine through past the character. The pair share an electric chemistry.
Watch out for an exceptionally sexy (and chaste) scene where the pair dance to Alabama Shakes. As for the actual sex scenes, it takes a while for the heat to come, but it comes in a big way when it gets there. I think it’s patronizing to call actors “brave” for nudity, but it’s a soul and body-bearing performance from both actors. Make no mistake, this is a very adult film.
Exceptionally delightful on every front (especially the chemistry between the actors), the film should be a sexy crowd-pleaser for the young and the old alike.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is currently streaming on Hulu
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