Monday 27 June 2022

Movie Review: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

This is a small film, a really small film. When I compare it to the latest top box office, I have to wonder why anybody would bother. When I look at the plot, I realize this is targeting a niche market. However, now that I've seen it, I can attest to a profound story with stellar performances. It has a message for all of us. To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau: [Most people] live lives of quiet desperation.

Nancy, played by Emma Thompson, is retired, recently widowed, and unhappy. She knows she's missed out on something in life and tries to correct this by hiring a male sex worker. She reveals she's never had an orgasm in her life. She describes the perfunctory sex with her husband as penetration in the darkness with him subsequently rolling over and going to sleep. Her husband said oral sex, man on woman or woman on man, was demeaning to him and as a consequence, Nancy has never had a truly intimate moment with a partner.

Leo, played by Daryl McCormack, is something more than a sex worker; he's a therapist. He's kind. He's patient. He remains focused on Nancy, listening to her rants, easing her anxiousness, and going slowly to grant her permission to feel the pleasure she's been denied her whole life. The movie walks the line between the titillation and discomfort of the topic of sex, and the seriousness of the fundamental right of human beings to enjoy their own bodies. Sex is an integral part of the human experience. It can fulfill us and complete us. Nancy confesses that after one of their bouts of sex, she felt powerful.

I come back to a life of quiet desperation. If you don't do it now, when will you do it? How many people go through life unfulfilled and never, literally and figuratively, have an orgasm? Our society frowns upon sex. Prostitution is for the most part illegal. Collectively, we have succeeded in making our lives sometimes uncomfortable and dissatisfying. It's a subplot of the movie that sex work can be a good thing for both the practitioner and the client.

The film is not a love story. In the end, Nancy and Leo go their separate ways, back to their lives, better for their meeting. I give Emma Thompson credit. She's a brave woman. At the end of the film, this 63-year-old actress stands before a mirror stark naked, portraying a woman now aware of herself and her body. She's not a model. She's not perfect. She's just an average person with all the imperfections any of us have in life. But she's an average person who's made the first step in casting off her desperation. It's never too late to change.

Published on May 16/2020 by SearchlightPictures
YouTube: Trailer: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (1:43)
In GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, two-time Academy Award winner Emma Thompson (Love, Actually) embodies the candor and apprehension of retired teacher Nancy Stokes, and newcomer Daryl McCormack (Peaky Blinders) personifies the charisma and compassion of sex worker Leo Grande. As Nancy embarks on a post-marital sexual awakening and Leo draws on his skills and charm, together they find a surprising human connection.

Final Word
Recommended. While some may feel the plot targets an older audience, I feel the message is universal. Go for the brass ring. Don't wait, do it now. Good luck to us all.


Wikipedia: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a 2022 British sex comedy-drama film directed by Sophie Hyde and written by Katy Brand. The film stars Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack. [The film] had its world premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival on 22 January 2022, and was released on 17 June 2022, theatrically in the United Kingdom by Lionsgate, and digitally in the United States by Searchlight Pictures as a Hulu original film.

Rotten Tomatoes: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande: 95% (as of 2022-06-27)
Sexual awakening stories aren't in short supply, but Good Luck to You, Leo Grande proves you can still tell one with a refreshing -- and very funny -- spin.

Box Office
As of today, June 27, 2022, Box Office Mojo in its world ranking for 2022 shows
  1. Top Gun: $1,006,423,000
  2. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: $947,014,432
  3. The Batman: $770,345,583
  4. Jurassic World Dominion: $746,664,000
This film does not appear on this list which shows 200 films in total.

As of today, June 27, 2022, Box Office Mojo in its British ranking for 2022 shows
  1. Top Gun: $70,123,823
  2. The Batman: $51,513,761
  3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: $51,183,196
  4. Sing 2: $44,113,113
Out of a list of 200, this film appears as #74 with a gross of $291,665.

Poynter: New York Times corrects misquote of Thoreau’s ‘quiet desperation’ line
While Henry David Thoreau is often credited with variations of the aphorism “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them,” that is not what he wrote in “Walden.” He merely said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”


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