Friday Film Review--"Good Luck To You, Leo Grande"
The film, which takes place in London, unfolds like a four-act play onscreen.
Emma Thompson stars as a sixty-something widow and retired religious education teacher, Nancy Stokes, who's seeking to rediscover herself - and her sexuality - with the help of a hired, handsome, and very much younger sex worker, Leo Grande (played by talented newcomer Daryl McCormack).
Most of the film takes place within the four walls of a high-end hotel suite. Opening with alternating scenes of Nancy and Leo, it's uncertain how and why their paths will cross until Leo knocks on the hotel room door.
Nancy, who's quite nervous, has been prepping for Leo's arrival with the help of some liquid courage from the hotel's mini bar. Leo's conversational skills, which are surprising for his young age, put Nancy's anxiety at ease. However, they spend most of their first "meeting" engaged in a deep and respectful conversation about intimacy.
It's unknown what inspired Nancy's bold move of hiring Leo, but we do learn that she is shy about her body and ashamed of her lack of sexual knowledge and experience after a decades-long marriage.
They soon meet again, and this time Nancy comes prepared with a list of intimate to-dos that she wants Leo to help her explore. During this visit, we learn more about Nancy, her lack of spontaneity, and her need to control every detail of her life and those around her. Leo soon steps in and encourages her to lighten up and let go. We also begin to learn more about Leo and why he's chosen this line of work.
What follows is a shift in Nancy and Leo's arrangement, which leads both to learn more about themselves and how the timing of their brief connection changes both of their lives.
The film runs 97 minutes and is rated R, which isn't surprising based on its graphic nudity and sexual content, but the film is not as raunchy as it may seem.
Thompson and McCormack's performances are strong and help carry the simple plot that features just a handful of other characters and scenes. Written by British actress and comedian Katy Brand and directed by Sophie Hyde, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande paints a unique perspective on the ageless power of intimacy and connection. It's a film worth watching.