A modern tale of sexual desire and empowerment
This movie about a retired schoolteacher and a sex worker had me all in my feels. Laughter, tears, tension, sinking recognition, all of that. It takes place almost entirely in a hotel room and is riveting. It’s also a fresh, progressive take on sex work and female desire.
In Good Luck to You, Leo Grande Nancy, a retired, widowed schoolteacher (Emma Thompson) has never had an orgasm or any kind of satisfying sex despite (or maybe because of) decades of marriage. She hires a sex worker, Leo (Daryl McCormack), a young man who looks like he emerged from a meadow bath of dew and honey, peered through a break in the trees at the edge of the woods, and strolled, sunkissed, into the mundane world to see what’s up.
Anyway, where was I?
Oh, yeah. Nancy hires Leo to give her some of the sexual experiences she missed out on in life.
Well, I’m all for that mission, girlfriend.
This movie really zeros in on specific kinds of sexual desire, such as the simple hunger for human touch. And how profound and moving that can be. The first time Nancy touches Leo is heartbreaking. (After two years in the pandemic, the need to just touch someone hits hard.)
It’s also about the yearning to recapture all that was denied to you when you were young, and the excitement that comes naturally with youth and the feeling that you have everything ahead of you to look forward to.
The generation gap allows for the exploration of sexual shame. Though Nancy and Leo were raised in different eras, they both grapple with this subject and how it impacted their lives. A lot’s changed in terms of attitudes about sex, yet a lot remains the same.
I loved the smart, witty dialogue. There’s this scene where Nancy says to Leo, “I’m just not very good at waiting for things to happen. I’m much better once they’ve happened and I’m recovering.“
I paused and replayed this scene because I was like, Wow. Same. Yikes.
It’s also a great example of classic British humor, making the movie a delicious mix of bedroom drama and romantic comedy with bite.
If you’re looking for a modern tale about sexual desire and the quest to fulfill it, told with a progressive take on sex work and through the lens of the oft-dismissed mature woman, check out Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. It’s streaming on Hulu.
I just laughed, and teared up again, watching the trailer.