Sex, comedy, drama. Not usually three words that you’d use to use to describe a movie, but this one ticks all those boxes. What makes it even more special, is that the leading lady is 63, and not some beautifully proportioned blonde in her twenties. The success of something like this, is in that it needs a superb script and two magnificent leads. Katy Brand most certainly ticked the script box and brought the characters to life in a credible way. As for actors, in his breakthrough role, Irish actor Daryl McCormack plays a male escort, who is charismatic in nature and as he says, ‘just doing his job.’
This movies winning piece, however, comes in the sublime form of Emma Thompson. Now, Emma Thompson is something special. She is 63 years of age with 4 decades of acting and screenwriting behind her. She has 2 Oscar’s, 3 BAFTAs, 2 Golden Globes and an Emmy. In Good Luck to you, Leo Grande, Ms Thompson takes her acting to the next level.
The film is divided into chapters, each detailing a meeting between Nancy and Leo. Nancy is a retired Religious Education teacher who is a widow of 2 years. Leo is handsome and calm in nature, the sex worker she has chosen online. Chapter One sees Nancy fussing in her hotel room, questions rushing through her brain. What am I doing? Why am I here? She is nervous and her actions give that away to the watcher. Leo arrives and his charm and good looks almost take away every ounce of confidence Nancy had started to gather. Leo is a natural talker, almost a psychologist in nature, and with his words, he encourages Nancy to talk about herself.
The second session sees our schoolteacher arrive with a list. Everything she has never done and wants to try. She remains insecure, but under Leo’s coaxing more secrets come out. Leo talks of his mother and Nancy explains she finds her children boring. This film leaves some things to the imagination but to be honest, the core of the film to me, is the conversations and the rationality of them. The moralities that have governed Nancys life versus the utopianism that Leo displays. As Nancy says “you’re the only adventure I’ve ever had. I wanted it to be real.
It is a ‘predictable’ film but is managed well by its character developments. The portrayal of a middle-aged woman with all of her insecurities, her age, dislike of her own body and sexual inexperience play out very well through the script. There is a scene where our leading lady drops her robe, standing naked in front of the mirror. Many people have questioned whether it was required. Well, here’s my view. Yes, it was. It was the perfect the bookend to the film. Nancy started the film hating everything about herself, but through her experiences and conversations with Leo, she grew to love herself for who she was and not who she thought she should be. It was a gutsy performance from Emma Thompson and that final scene must’ve taken some courage.
Gutsy and raw performances. Honesty in the script. Loved this movie.