Constrained in a single hotel room, Sophie Hyde’s Good Luck to You, Leo Grande delivers a shockingly touching view into the sex lives of the widowed through Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson)—a reserved schoolteacher looking to finally find sexual satisfaction after losing her spouse. Finding herself alone after decades of marriage, Nancy hires an escort, Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack), to at last experience sexual fulfillment, and more specifically, an orgasm. Despite some slight naivete and contrived elements, this two-hander is an attention-grabbing dramedy with a refined touch of humor that carries you through the film.
Due to the nature of this chamber film, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande leans heavily on the performances of both Thompson and McCormack. The film’s mastery rests in the juxtaposition of these two wildly different characters and how they explore sex, emotions, and grief. The clash between Thompson’s nervous widow and McCormack’s confident sex worker incites a dialogue that reminds us that it’s never too late to break out of our shells. Leo’s sexual freedom highlights the repressive expectations of marriage that Nancy felt suffocated by. Now suddenly, given the chance at sexual freedom, Nancy’s buried vulnerability is exposed with the help of an unlikely companion. And the result is startlingly honest.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a sentimental film from writer Katy Brand that shines even brighter thanks to the film’s limited setting. The performances incite a contrasting dialogue designed to stir the audience’s emotions. The film steadily unfolds until all the cards fall flat on the table, and Thompson’s Nancy can begin her life again. R, 97 min.