Two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson stars in writer Katy Brand and director Sophie Hyde’s endearing story of a retired school teacher who embarks on a journey of sexual reawakening. Spending the entirety of the dialogue-centric film opposite sex worker Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack), the film is very much like theater for the big screen.
As the film unfolds, we learn more about Nancy Stokes and the life of passionless sex she’s had over the course of her 60-something-year-old life. Her kids are grown, her husband is gone and all Nancy wants is for something – or someone – to reignite that passion within her. Enter: Leo Grande, a character that could have been one-note had it not been for McCormack’s charisma and likability. He and Thompson work in sync to bring Brand’s witty, endearing, relatable, and interesting characters to life.
Set almost entirely in a luxury hotel room, the characters’ emotions ebb and flow throughout the course of several weeks. We get to know them both as they get to know each other, a rarity between a sex worker and a client and one that makes the film so unique and charming. It’s full of light, humor, honesty and intimacy with enough drama to carry the story from act to act.
Both characters are fully formed, but a character like Nancy Stokes is rare – especially for the big screen. The woman is regretful, not fully in love or obsessed with her children, wants an exciting sex life, and is unconfident in her aging body. And herein lies the beauty of Good Luck to You, Leo Grande – all of those things are beautiful. And a powerhouse like Emma Thompson elevates the already strong material to a level that should make her an Oscar contender yet again. Good luck to her.