Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

By Joanna Langfield

As much as I wanted to enjoy this modest production about the most immodest thing of all, sexuality, I couldn’t help but feel a little let down. Because what seduces us with honesty, terrific performers and a certain charm feels satisfied with its good intentions and happy to leave there. For a film, or anything else, to truly satisfy, you’ve got to try harder than that..

Of course Emma Thompson is dandy as the retired widow who hires a sex worker so that she can finally have her first orgasm. Deftly swinging from the initial comedic moments to the more grounded, dramatic ones, Thompson brings a compassion to this inhibited and let’s face it, not very fun woman. Nancy is kind of an uptight pill. But she is curious about her hired on lover. Leo, in fact, is more intriguing to Nancy than are her grown children, or the kids she so strictly taught in school. But Leo has his own story. And he’s not all that keen on sharing it. Daryl McCormack, new to me, is lovely as the enigmatic Leo. Watching two actors work so nicely together is a showcase of generosity and I’m certainly all here for that.

I’m also appreciative of the purpose writer Katy Brand and director Sophie Hyde bring to this episodic two character piece. How can you not root for anyone who wants to expand their lives, be true to themselves? But as we are told there can be a price to pay for that, we are also put in a position of rooting for a woman who grew up, either ignoring or rejecting her sisters, burning bras and insisting on equality. Was Nancy living in some alternate universe? Maybe the biggest disappointment is that at the end of all this, we don’t really much care.