Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (2022)
"And here's to you Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know."
I had it in my head that someone said Good Luck to You, Leo Grande was worth my time and because of that it had been on the to-watch-list for a while. Anticipating an offbeat rom-com, I wasn’t entirely wrong. But I was also wrong.
Dame Emma Thompson, Damed (is it Damed? Made a Dame) by my uni mate, not old Queeny corpse, is a retiree who hires a sex worker- played by the wonderful Daryl McCormack. She's older, he’s young. Only this gender dynamic works for this scenario, like that it was "OK" my Nan essentially told my brother and I if she was younger she’d be all over us. Try that with a Grandad and granddaughter as a thought experiment.
There is a lot to unpack from this film.
The politics of sex and relationships, sexual experience and guilt, youth, envy, hating your body, being scared of sex at all. Mainly though, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is about regret and being unsatisfied with both yourself and your choices and it being so late in the game only something massive will help come to terms with that. Like hiring a sex worker, who just happens to be classy and very, very sexy.
Being scared of sex is something that never applied to me until I got older, fatter and more aware of other peoples’ feelings and my own actions. I'm pretty vanilla, my safe word is mamacita. To be honest it is more of a warning of climax and imminent sleep. If you get that reference I will be Cuarón you to bed later, so you can see my insecurities up close. You saucy devil.
Joking aside, what are you expecting going into a film about a woman in her autumn years? A beautiful woman, might I add, but her age is deliberate and crucial to the story as she hires a younger sex worker. Well, I was expecting a Brit-rom-com where they both learn something and everyone has a happy ending. What I wasn't expecting was an hour and a half of what is essentially a play- largely situated in the same room and with screen time colonised by Thompson and McCormack.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande suffers from some dull spells and I almost asked to turn it off when I realised there was to be no kooky vicar or assassin on the run, but the (now ex) girlfriend who I have had sex with despite what her Twitter bio says, wanted to keep it on. Because I'm woke and all that, I allowed her to have an opinion on this occasion. Learning.
Even though it has definite class, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a bit predictable, and in parts lacking the requisite jokes. While oozing the kind of charm that will see him in much, much more prominent roles, Daryl McCormack’s Leo is the perfect sex worker for a mainstream viewer; he's only flawed in the ways which make him more believable. Dame Emma is great, too. If you want to fuck, consensually do it, don't hold back.
After 600 words which I’ve edited and rewritten a number of times I still don’t feel I’ve covered all that Good Luck to You, Leo Grande made me think about. Obviously I left all the Socratic dialogue out in favour of jokes. Be like Fiddy, into having sex not into taking drugs. More challenging than expected but worth the effort. 7/10