Review | ‘Good Luck To You, Leo Grande’ is entrancing and empowering

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande | Dir: Sophie Hyde | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Retired Religious Education teacher Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson) has been widowed for two years and has finally taken the plunge to explore a part of herself that has been dormant forever. Now she is nervously waiting in an anonymous hotel room for sex worker Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) to arrive.

While her husband Robert provided a good life with a home and family, his duty in the marital bed was rushed and one-sided. Leo is as devastating handsome as his online picture, but Nancy is having second thoughts about completing the list of sexual positions she has brought with her.

This Sundance smash hit has been described as raw and sexy and the trailer to the film shows a considerable amount of sexy scenes, but the film is only quietly raunchy, relying on suggestion. There is more talking in this two-person comedy/drama, with sex being a pathway to self-acceptance.

Over a series of get-togethers, the extremely reticent Nancy begins to unwind and the power dynamics start to shift. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Daryl McCormack has said that the film was shot chronologically and that the initial apprehension on set gave way to an easy-going friendship that was reflected in their characters.

Interestingly, it is not just about empowering Nancy, whose costume transformations are as joyous as her sexual awakening. Leo is allowed to decide what he will accept and can leave a situation where he feels that he is not being respected. Nancy also allows Leo to confront past shames.

Sizzling performances from both the lead actors keep the audience constantly entranced. Emma Thompson’s raw, vulnerable and fearless performance is certainly memorable, while Daryl McCormack is drop-dead gorgeous and does a fantastic job as the caring therapist for sexual healing and the wounded young man who has found his super power.

Lezly Herbert

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