Don’t clutch your pearls if you ever catch word of your buttoned-up former RE teacher having a tryst with a sex worker. At least, that’s one of the takeaways to gain from Sophie Hyde’s (Animals) sex comedy. It stars Emma Thompson as widow and retired educator Nancy Stokes, who decides to hire a rent boy in his twenties to try and reclaim a life she’s never lived.
When Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) comes knocking on her hotel room door, however, Nancy’s self-doubt gets the best of her and she questions whether she is prepared for such an encounter. But after a few false starts and countless reassurances from the effortlessly charming Leo, she gradually allows herself to become more vulnerable.
Despite its taboo-tackling premise, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande isn’t the raunchy romp that one might expect it to be. Though the clothes come off fairly early on, it focuses on the intimacy that unfolds as the two characters lay bare the innermost parts of themselves, rather than just their bodies.
Don’t clutch your pearls if you ever catch word of your old RE teacher having a tryst with a sex worker
Like Thompson’s character, the film takes its time to gather momentum, but eventually finds its footing as a progressive conversation-starter about modern attitudes towards sex work, as well as a cheering nudge to drop the useless inhibitions holding you back from leading a fulfilling life. Excellent writing by Katy Brand leaves plenty of room for both light-hearted humour and deeply personal moments, with Thompson bringing her A-game and newcomer McCormack matching her. They’re a captivating, unlikely duo.
In UK cinemas Jun 17.