Andrea’s film review – Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Nancy Stokes, a 55-year-old widow, is yearning for some adventure, human connection, and some sex–some good sex. Emma Thompson’s new film is out in cinemas, including Chiswick Cinema, this Friday.

Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson) a retired schoolteacher and a widow for two years (after 30 years of marriage), decides to meet with a much younger sex worker, Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) to cross some sexual fantasies off her bucket list.

The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival with rave reviews and it’s now being advertised as the film in which Emma Thompson bravely bares it all. However the power of the film goes way beyond the unexpected full-frontal.

Let me get this off my chest, straight away, I absolutely LOVED this film.

Not only it was highly entertaining, beautifully acted and constantly thought-provoking, but it was also a demonstration that you can actually have a story about sex workers, orgasms, sexual frustration as well as plenty of talk about taboos and sex in general and yet still end up with an incredibly tasteful film (it’s only rated 15).

Sophisticated, and full of humour (I haven’t laughed this much in the whole year). The film manages to be gentle and yet incisive. At times disarmingly honest, constantly riveting, surprisingly erotic and deeply touching.

Good luck to you, Leo Grande is essentially all about two people talking to each other in a hotel room and yet the film never feels claustrophobic or static, it fact it embraces its theatricality at its fullest: the confined space actually allows the audience to really focus on the two people at the centre of it all and with those two performances, you hardly need anything else.

Of course everyone who knows me, also knows about my deep love for Emma Thompson, but this is really one of the best things she’s ever done in an already spectacular career. She is truly magnetic, bringing so much humour into her role together with her character’s insecurities.

The brave decision to go “full frontal” never feels cheap or exploitive and most importantly, it doesn’t overwhelm the film (as the publicity makes it look like: in fact it happens right at the end, no spoiler intended). It makes perfect sense for the scene and for the overall final message the film wants to communicate.

But the real surprise here is Daryl McCormack who shows he is just as good at controlling the scene. He is charming, likeable and his screen presence is astounding.

The chemistry between the two of them is truly palpable, visceral and really a thing of magic, which elevates an already strong, smart, sexy, hilarious and compassionate script to sheer joy.

Yes, some of the steps through the journey the two characters are going through may feel a little bit forced and not quite earned, but I’m nit-picking here:  I’ve had so much fun with this and I was so touched by it, that I’m willing to forgive those small contrivances.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is out in cinemas from Friday.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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