GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE (15)
GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE (15)
Director: Sophie Hyde
Runtime: 97 minutes
Cast: Emma Thompson, Daryl, McCormack, Isabella Laughland
Synopsis: In GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, two-time Academy Award® winner Emma Thompson embodies the candour and apprehension of retired teacher Nancy Stokes, and newcomer Daryl McCormack (Peaky Blinders) personifies the charisma and compassion of sex worker Leo Grande. As Nancy embarks on a post-marital sexual awakening and Leo draws on his skills and charm, together they find a surprising human connection.
The film is directed by Sophie Hyde [The Hunting (TV Mini Series) (1 episode-sluts) (2019), Animals (2019), F*%#Ing Adelaide (TV Mini Series) (6 episodes) (2017), 52 Tuesdays (2013)] and written & created by Katy Brand [Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show (2007-2009)].
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande made its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
Emma Thompson is on career-best form in this hilarious, sex-positive tale of self-discovery from director Sophie Hyde and writer Katie Brand. With a star-making turn from Daryl McCormack, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande takes a heart-warming look at the dynamics of desire and empowerment.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande follows Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson), a widowed teacher/mother who had a very unsatisfying sex life with her late husband and decides that she wants to explore her sexuality and try something new. She hires a handsome young escort named Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack). But what transpires isn’t just a quick fling; rather, it’s a connection between two people who develop empathy in a profound, intimate drama which features diverse and positive messages.
It’s refreshing to see female sexuality, particularly for women over 60, explored with such honesty in mainstream cinema.
“Nancy is a 60-ish retired religious education teacher who’s been widowed for two years and who makes this sort of fabulously bold and unusual decision to hire a younger sex worker. She is brave but also deeply flawed,” Emma Thompson comments. “Many of her beliefs are the opposite of woke — her attitudes, her prejudices, her biases. She is just a wonderfully normal person who initiates this very strangely intimate, not-romantic relationship.” Nancy has obeyed the rules her whole life — she’s had a long, successful 31-year marriage. She’s got two successful, healthy children. She had a long career in religious education. Yet slowly, you see how this construction that looks so perfect is in fact far from it; that it contains an emptiness that has prevented her from really being fully a human being.
By contrast Leo Grande is a modern young man who makes a living as a sex worker and meets Nancy after she books him for a session.
“I was really excited by him because he’s someone who navigates his own identity and pleasure so openly — it’s his superpower,” says Daryl McCormack. Leo has had his own experiences with sexual shame, and in response to that he empowered himself and now now uses his expressiveness and his own sexual desires to help others discover theirs. “Nancy is a woman who has been pretty much starved of healthy and beautiful sexual experience and Leo has found a vocation in helping to introduce that to his clients and help them see their own power through sexuality,” he adds.
Sensitive cinematography from Bryan Mason is combined with costume design from Sian Jenkins, production design by Miren Maranon and original music by Stephen Rennicks all enrich and emphasise the themes and powerful messages conveyed in what is basically a single setting, two-character drama.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, with its wonderful character development, strikingly impressive performances and refreshing, sensitive, funny and emotional material, makes for a very worthwhile watch.
Images courtesy of: Lionsgate