Tag: Luck

GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, Let’s Talk About Sex

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You may not know the technical term, but I’m guessing many reading this will know the sensation: skin hunger. Humans are social animals, and one of our social needs is touch, and the (hopefully) pleasant sensation it brings. Expanding that into sexual desire, for most people, is also something craved, and the lack of it can lead to terrible psychological distress. So why shouldn’t people be allowed to pay for these services, and for someone to provide them, without shame or moral quandry? What happens between consenting adults is no one else’s business – but what happens when sex, which can be such an intimate act, is a business?

Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays, Animals) once again turns her deft hand to people exploring their freedom, sexuality, and sexual desire in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. Written by Katy Brand, starring Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack, this is an absolute banger of a (almost complete) two-hander, addressing sexual needs, sexual awakening, privacy, sex work, and intimacy in all its forms.

Nancy (Thompson) is just passed 60 years of age, recently widowed, recently retired, and as she readily admits, has lead a very mundance life. Her job was dull, her children bore her, she doesn’t seem to feel the loss of her husband. But she does feel the loss of time, specifically time devoted to her own sexual pleasure, which has been decidely absent her entire life. Enter Leo Grande (McCormack), a sex worker Nancy has hired. Leo has a varied clientele with a variety of needs and desires, not always centred around sex.

Leo Grande isn’t just a person, of course, but a performance. Leo knows that his clients each want a different experience; each experience requires a different Leo to perform for them, and, like any good sex worker, Leo knows his job well. He doesn’t always get it right at first, but he has a talent for sensing what his clients want. And he knows that, while Nancy craves the kind of sex she dutifully lists for him, she always wants intimacy of the more cerebral kind, that leads into good sex.

Leo Grande 2.jpg

Leo knows that Nancy needs care and confidence; he provides that to her. And even though she knows that she is paying him for this service, the result is the same. Almost every scene happens in one hotel room, almost in real time, and yet Hyde never allows us to be bored. With as much intimacy (arguably more) than a live theatre piece, we are privy to how Leo learns and teaches, and how Nancy adapts and grows. It’s a quiet joy to watch Nancy and Leo talk at one moment about blow jobs, and the next about the lies Leo tells his mother to protect her from the truth of his profession.

Even if Nancy thinks she’s educated and a feminist, she still has some rather arcance ideas of how women should behave, and how she thinks Leo should feel about his job. Even if Leo thinks he’s just performing a service, he often fails to see the effect that service can have in a negative way. Brand’s script does not shy away from a bit of skewering of heteronormativity and the rigid moral structure most cultures have placed on sexual pleasure and its connection to sex work, the need that most humans have for touch and connection.

It won’t come as a surprise that Thompson shines in this role, mixing her comedic and dramatic talents to portray a somewhat atypical character for the actress, with a bravery to showing this woman’s most vulnerable side almost immediately. McCormack more than holds his own; he shows Leo’s journey as the opposite, at first keeping his mask firmly in place until this maddening client forces it off him. Hyde knows exactly how to place these characters before the camera, allowing them to be free in their discoveries, both good and bad.

With a fierce honestly and a dry wit, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande asks us all why we can’t enjoy touch, sex, pleasure, the way we want (safely, consensually), with or without strings, as human needs demand. Deceptively nuanced, it asks us to confront our own ideas of what makes us strong and happy, and how we view those who sell this kind of service.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

Cast
  • Emma Thompson
  • Daryl McCormack
  • Isabella Laughland


https://screenanarchy.com/2022/06/review-good-luck-to-you-leo-grande.html

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Good Luck To You, Leo Grande Review: Emma Thompson’s Sexual Awakening Comedy Is As Seductive As It Is Heartfelt

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https://www.cinemablend.com/movies/good-luck-to-you-leo-grande-review-emma-thompsons-sexual-awakening-comedy-is-as-seductive-as-it-is-heartfelt

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande Review | Movie

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Retired teacher and widow Nancy Stokes (Thompson) hires handsome sex worker Leo Grande (McCormack) to help her achieve the sexual fulfilment long missing from her marriage. Over several meetings, Leo aids Nancy in working through her anxieties to find satisfaction while also trying to keep up conjugal appearances.

There is no shortage of sexual awakening stories centred on young ladies’ experience of the big O for the first time. Unfortunately, far too many women go through life without climaxing at all — and this is where comedian and screenwriter Katy Brand has stepped in to fill that orgasm gap. With Sophie Hyde on directing duties, this is an endearing, bubbly and heartening two-hander about female pleasure from a mature woman’s perspective. Together with Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack, Brand and Hyde have captured that particularly dry style of humour and matter-of-factness so typical of the British romcom, with a sex-positive flair.

Thompson gives us everything. An award-winning screenwriter herself, it’s abundantly clear the actor has invested both personally and creatively in her repressed ex-schoolteacher. Nancy is a flood of contradictions: vulnerable and assertive, liberally minded but sexually conservative, straight-talking yet easily embarrassed by phrases like “anal sex”. She might be the older woman, but early on Thompson plays her almost like a 16-year-old about to pop her cherry, wide-eyed insecurity and nervous energy vibrating off her body. Like Aubrey Plaza’s feminist teen lead in The To Do List, she has a catalogue of carnal pleasures to experience for the first time, and Leo is the man to do just that.

Brand’s script takes great care to dissect the ambiguities around sex and sex work without shame.

A calming foil to his tightly wound client, McCormack serves as a charismatic receptacle to Thompson’s anxious stream-of-consciousness, as well as a mirror to her more generational, mother-knows-best prejudices. Even as you empathise with the chaotic way Nancy unpacks her fears and sexual desires, the patient mask Leo wears rarely slips; it’s only her questions about his life, aspirations and reasons for being in his profession that cause his poise to falter. The underlying tension doesn’t quite rip but ripples as McCormark’s placid demeanour shifts, forcing a deeper interrogation for them both.

A Norwich hotel room sets the stage for this tête-à-tête; its beige decor of muted colours doesn’t pull focus and dulls any erotic charge. 
It’s not without its sensuality — at moments, the camera luxuriates in both their bodies — but naturalistic lighting grounds the encounter in the awkward, transactional reality. Navigating the power dynamic between client and sex worker, older white woman and young biracial man, Brand might have probed a bit deeper instead of tying up things so neatly. But in avoiding racial clichés and exploitative moments, her script takes great care to dissect the ambiguities around sex and sex work without shame, a lot of compassion and welcome comic relief. With bold direction, this is a healthy, relatable romp every man and woman should make time for.

Deftly handled direction from Sophie Hyde and a thoroughly impressive dual performance from Emma Thompson 
and Daryl McCormack enlivens an electric script, tackling taboo sexual subjects with wit, flair and welcome realism.

https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/good-luck-to-you-leo-grande/

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A brave portrait of middle-aged sexual liberation: BRIAN VINER reviews Good Luck To You, Leo Grande 

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A brave portrait of middle-aged sexual liberation… Hats off to Emma Thompson in this rite-of-passage story made with humour and sensitivity: BRIAN VINER reviews Good Luck To You, Leo Grande

Goodluck to you, Leo Grande

Rating:

Emma Thompson might not be everyone’s cup of tea, let alone their glass of fizz, but as a widowed former RE teacher called Nancy, she had me hooked from the moment she apprehensively takes a bottle of champagne from a hotel mini-bar in preparation for an encounter with a male escort.

The sex worker’s pseudonym is Leo Grande and he is quite splendidly played by Peaky Blinders actor Daryl McCormack. Until the last of four separate acts, Sophie Hyde’s funny, moving, thought-provoking film, smartly scripted by comedian Katy Brand, features just the two characters in a series of hotel-room trysts.

There is duly a slightly theatrical feel to proceedings, but such is the quality of both the acting and writing, it never feels stagey.

Emma Thompson might not be everyone’s cup of tea, let alone their glass of fizz, but as a widowed former RE teacher called Nancy, she had me hooked from the moment she apprehensively takes a bottle of champagne from a hotel mini-bar in preparation for an encounter with a male escort

Emma Thompson might not be everyone’s cup of tea, let alone their glass of fizz, but as a widowed former RE teacher called Nancy, she had me hooked from the moment she apprehensively takes a bottle of champagne from a hotel mini-bar in preparation for an encounter with a male escort

When we (and Leo) first meet her, Nancy is a bag of nerves. It is two years since the death of her husband Robert, the only man she has ever been to bed with – ‘There are nuns out there with more sexual experience,’ she says – and now she has decided that she wishes to pay for sex.

Even when Robert was alive theirs was a humdrum, robotic sex life, which always left her ‘disappointed’. But the arrival of this handsome, self-assured, worldly young Irishman plunges her into self doubt. The age gap alone is alarming. Does she really want to go through with it?

Leo has a quick wit and abundant charm. He tells Nancy he likes her perfume. ‘Coco Chanel… Nigella Lawson wears it,’ she gabbles by way of reply. Leo says he finds Nigella sexy. Nancy waits for him to add, ‘for her age’. But he doesn’t. He is a man in complete command of their transactional situation, overcoming its potential for awkwardness by effortlessly flirting with her.

Yet his confidence merely exacerbates her own mounting anxiety, compounded by phone calls from her grown-up daughter who, of course, has no idea what her mother is up to.

Leo tells her that his oldest customer was 82, which makes her feel a little better, but she cannot shake off the feeling that what she is about to do is irredeemably, indefensibly seedy. ‘I feel like Rolf Harris all of a sudden,’ she says.

Leo’s family in Ireland don’t know what he does for a living – he tells them he works on a North Sea oil rig – and over the course of three meetings, slowly but very effectively, and thanks to a genuinely nuanced performance by McCormack, his own vulnerabilities begin to show. Nancy, by contrast, is growing in self-esteem. She begins to feel intimacy beyond their physical connection – but is she starting to misinterpret the nature of their relationship?

When we (and Leo) first meet her, Nancy is a bag of nerves. It is two years since the death of her husband Robert, the only man she has ever been to bed with

When we (and Leo) first meet her, Nancy is a bag of nerves. It is two years since the death of her husband Robert, the only man she has ever been to bed with

Brand’s excellent script keeps all this real, faltering only once or twice when Nancy’s guilelessness feels a bit forced, but otherwise sustaining our interest in knowing how it might end. Wisely, the questionable morality of paying for sex is not overlooked (Nancy used to get her secondary-school pupils to write essays on the subject) although anyone who feels strongly that it is intrinsically wrong in any circumstance should probably give this film a swerve.

But really it is a rite-of-passage story made with humour and sensitivity, and hats off to Thompson, not to mention towelling robes, for fleetingly exposing her sexagenarian body not just to a single camera, but also to widespread comment. There is bound to be plenty. But nudity is not the point of this film. Nor, even, is sex. It is about emotional growth, and how we’re never too old to start.

  • Good Luck To You, Leo Grande opens in cinemas next Friday.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-10902403/A-brave-portrait-middle-aged-sexual-liberation-BRIAN-VINER-reviews-Good-Luck-Leo-Grande.html