Thursday, June 16, 2022

A retired teacher hires a sex worker


I can't say that I totally bought into Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, director Sophie Hyde's two-hander about an older woman (Emma Thompson) who hires a sex worker (Daryl McCormack) in a desperate attempt to add spark to a life that has grown pot-bound. A retired teacher and widow, Thompson's Nancy Stokes arranges to meet McCormack's Leo but approaches the task with a major case of ambivalence. Set almost entirely in the hotel room where Nancy arranges several meetings with Leo, Good Luck to You Leo Grande relies on McCormack's ability to project easy charm and Thompson's willingness to play a woman with qualms about her life, her aging body, and her grown children. Thompson's serio/comic gift enables her to play characters who seem to be in constant conversation with themselves. The movie concludes with an act of daring by the 63-year-old Thompson. Both actors are asked to turn the movie into an endorsement of the pleasure that liberates Nancy from what had been a repressively conventional marriage (no orgasms). Katy Brand's screenplay eventually asks Leo and Nancy to face each other minus the trappings of illusion, which, in turn, means facing themselves. The story evolves in predictable ways but McCormack and Thompson  keep things real.

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