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  • Writer's pictureFiona Prior

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

Updated: Aug 15, 2022

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Director: Sophie Hyde

Admittedly, I’d almost made up my mind regarding what I’d say about ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ before I'd even seen the film.

A much older woman with a younger man?… My response was that it was mostly about economics; older men and younger women have been pairing for years with the currencies of the dollar and of youth being transacted, and that we are now seeing the flipside. Financially secure women coupling with younger men, those younger men looking for financial security, as a part of the relationship package.

This actually is not what ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ is about.

What it is about? Preconceived notions (mea culpa), human relationships, the remnants of outmoded legislation, passé social mores, the power of honest communication ...

Emma Thompson plays ‘Nancy Stokes’, a woman who we have all known at some stage of our lives. Nancy has never really had an adventure. She has done what she thinks is the appropriate thing to do. She has not examined her own life beyond wondering why she is not happy. She has been accepting of her lot and she has been mildly judgmental of others.

Well, Nancy decides to have an adventure. Her husband has recently died, her children have grown up and left home. Nancy has never had an orgasm, given or received oral sex, experienced lust … It is quite a list.

She hires a young sex worker, Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack ) and with list in hand, explains that she wants to tick each item off but is not sure about the big ‘O’. She does not know if this is possible.

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack are perfectly cast in this film. As Leo, McCormack is young, handsome, and intelligently fields the intrusive questions Nancy throws at him. The big one is why someone so obviously intelligent would be a sex worker. When Leo lies and says he is saving to go to college Nancy can reconcile the situation. When Leo tells the truth and says that he enjoys his work, Nancy is far less than comfortable with her notions of right and wrong; we begin to touch on her conditioning about physical pleasure and acceptable behaviour.

As Nancy explains to Leo that her husband positioned himself on her a couple of times a week, then pecked her on the cheek before going to sleep; that she taught religious studies at school and at one point pulled all the girls into assembly to tell them they were sluts because of the length of their uniforms; that she finds her ‘perfect’ post-graduate studying son boring and her ‘imperfect’ daughter (gone to Barcelona and living in a creative colony) selfish, we begin to piece together the logic of an unhappy life.

As audience, we find Nancy’s pity for this young and confident sex-worker a tad misdirected, her questions about his personal life inappropriate, and as the movie evolves, we find their conversations and actions riveting, unexpected, compassionate and yes, sexy.

Not so much a rom-com as a sex comedy, I’ve only given you the bare bones of this movie.

‘Irresistible’ is the verdict I have received from others who have already seen ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’.

I have to agree!

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