One of the biggest crowdpleasers at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival was “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” a two-hander starring Emma Thompson as a woman who hires a male sex worker in an attempt to have her first orgasm and ends up bonding with the man in the process. The sex-positive dramedy was a big enough hit to be acquired by Searchlight Pictures, which releases the film on Hulu next month.
Emma Thompson had high praise for the script and the character she played. “With all actors, parts come along and they meet you right in the center of yourself,” the actress said. “I hadn’t read anything like it and I never played anyone like that. Even though she’s a very ordinary woman, she’s doing something extraordinary and she’s learning from pushing through her own preconceptions … about what it means to be female, about what it means to be a woman. She learns so much from this young man.”
She also spoke about the nude scenes she filmed for the movie, calling it one of the biggest challenges of her career.
“Probably the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to act is standing in a relaxed manner and looking at my body without judgment,” she said. “You ask any woman to do that, I bet you 9.9 times out of 10, they won’t be able to do it. But do it on camera? Forget it. We’re used to not liking our bodies. We’ve been trained to hate our bodies from very early on because they don’t match the impossible and actually cruel ideals that we are presented with.”
But it appears that the boldness paid off. In his Sundance review, IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote that “the average sex worker may never be as beautiful as McCormack — the average movie star may never be as beautiful as McCormack — but a world that allows for pleasure and encourages people to share it with each other doesn’t feel so far out of reach. The only thing standing in the way is our shame, and while that isn’t as neatly conquerable in real life as it is on screen, it’s still encouraging when a nice morsel of a movie like ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ proves totally unafraid of looking at itself in the mirror.”
The official synopsis from Searchlight Pictures reads: “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.”
“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” will stream on Hulu on Friday, June 17. Watch the trailer below: