The Stream: Two people in a room can feel more like a play than a movie.
The Big Screen: Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack have easy, magnetic chemistry.
The Final Bill: A life affirming and charming movie with great performances– Trip Fontaine
Director: Sophie Hyde
Writers: Katy Brand
Stars: Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Rating: R for sexual content, graphic nudity and some language
Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes
Production Companies: Searchlight Pictures, Genesius Pictures, Align, Cornerstone Films
Platform: Hulu on June 17, 2022
Yes, Streamers, the summer movie season is in full swing. It seems like there are so many cinematic offerings all over the place. The movie theaters are overflowing with blockbusters and audiences with more to come as the season heats up. The streaming services also have releases that are coming at us weekly. For instance, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande was released on Hulu on June 17. It was a hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and now, we get to see what all the hype was about. Let’s see how lucky we actually are.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a very intimate movie. Sophie Hyde directed and Katy Brand wrote this story that takes place over multiple encounters between a 50- or 60-something former school teacher, Nancy, and the young and dashingly mysterious sex worker, Leo Grande, who Nancy has hired. Nancy is recently widowed and she’s been repressed all of her life. She has gotten up the courage to hire a sex worker to fulfill her sexual desires that have gone unfulfilled for the entirety of her marriage. Leo Grande enters. Leo Grande and Nancy develop an intimate but professional relationship that illuminates their personal lives in surprising ways. Sexy hijinks ensue.
First, this movie is kind of a sex comedy and kind of a sex drama, but don’t be mistaken, it is about sex. They talk about sex. They talk about sex acts and the ethics of sex work. They have sex. There is nudity. Sex, sex, sex. Don’t be surprised!
Second, this movie takes place in one hotel room. There are only two main characters. They meet multiple times in this room. That’s it. There are no car chases or swooping aerial shots with drones. No monsters or superheroes. Just two regular people talking in a hotel room. If that’s too static for you, then you have been warned.
Now, this movie is so sweet and charming. Yes, it’s about sex and pleasure, but it also is about life, taking chances and self-realization. The themes are very important, but they are dealt with in such an easy way. It does not feel manipulative or annoying. It is never crass in dealing with all of the sexy stuff.
Aside from that, Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack have an easy chemistry. There is a comfort that feels immediate and necessary considering the situation. McCormack is particularly good because he has to make Thompson’s Nancy feel at ease without being smarmy or creepy. It’s easy to see why Nancy would want to invite Leo Grande back beyond just his obvious good looks. Emma Thompson is great too, as usual. She’s funny at times and heartbreaking as well. She has a desperate openness that makes Nancy endearing even though she can be off-putting as well. These two actors draw the audience in even as they are building their onscreen relationship. Their dynamic makes the film have energy despite that it is confined to two people in one location.
Ultimately, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a worthwhile film experience. The two leads have great chemistry that helps the movie feel brisk. The conversation draws the audience in and holds your attention throughout. It is a charming, intimate and life-affirming movie. Get a box of popcorn (put the kids to bed) and curl up for a session with Leo Grande.