Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack in “Good Luck, Leo Grande” – Deadline


Even in its truncated virtual form, which suffered from Kovid last year, the Sundance Film Festival was able to surprisingly debut several films, which a year later we are still talking about in an interview with the Oscars, including Coda, jockey, past, run away, and Mass. Perhaps this success was due to the fact that they all had titles in one word, but more realistic because, despite all the shortcomings, the festivals picked up very well, and now the awards voters enjoy the richness. As I watch one film after another at this year’s (virtual) festival, I am looking for the breakthrough film or performance that we will talk about in a year if distributed properly. So far, there have been some promising performances, such as Julianne Moore, Bill Nye and their couple, which are yet to take place later, but the wow factor really struck me when I saw Emma Thompson in a British film Good luck to you, Leo Grande, premieres today at Sundance, to put it mildly, she knocks him out of the park. This is Thompson at his best, witty, dazzling. and above all brave a performance that will undoubtedly be discussed. Her co-star Daryl McCormack in this two-handed is no less good in the film, which focuses on a 60-year-old widowed mother of two and a religious studies teacher who hires a sex worker to date in a hotel room. It’s much harder than that what, in this story two different souls come together, one full of anxiety and regret about the past, the other professional to the core, but with protection he will not fail and a boundary he will not cross.

This, quite by accident in time, also proves to be the perfect film to create in a pandemic. Two stars, one set (at least until the final act) and a variety of dialogues actually make this Katie Brand script really bright, especially in the experienced hands of director Sophie Hyde, who is perfectly matched to the material. Watching it, I kept thinking it would be a killer Broadway play. In its own way it has some kinship with similar shows Next year is the same time and Six dance lessons in six weeks, but Hyde with some stunning work of his team of artisans manages to do what could be static in someone else’s hands, a completely cinematic journey.

Thompson plays Nancy Stokes (real name? Don’t you think), whose beautiful but hopeless marriage, which lasted 31 years, with a good but not exciting man ended in his death a couple of years ago. She has two adult children, one a

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her son she finds quite inconspicuous, and she teaches religious studies. At 60+ she also gained the courage to hit life again, and is gaining the courage to hire a young sex worker under the professional name of Leo Grande (McCormack). This is something that this somewhat depressed and definitely sexually unfit woman has never done, and it’s not cheap. She causes anxiety and doubt when she enters a hotel room, and soon she is joined by a knock on the door and the entrance of Leo, which looks for her just as stunning as in the photo on the website. This meeting, limited to hours that reflect the couple of hours she could afford, is incredibly awkward when Nancy unleashes a life full of fear, shame of herself over the body, and yes, fantasies when the grass is really green on the other side. Leo is cool in everything, well-dressed and a talking professional who has seen it all (he even confesses to Nancy when she asks that his oldest client he was 82 years old). When the conversation boils down to sex and her needs, Leo has his job. This meeting ends with an uncertain leap into the depths, but this is just the beginning.

Brand and Hyde break this story into four acts, essentially the second meeting Nancy comes to with a prepared list of sexual acts she wants and wants to divert from her “x ** ki” list, without deviations, and let’s get them off the road . But with this exit her curiosity about Leo as a person begins to come to the fore, growing into a dangerous place when she hits too many nerves during their third meeting or Act 3, where harsh feelings and invasion of privacy erupt. The last act brings a change of pace and a brief appearance of another character named Becky (Isabella Lafland in a Funny Turn), as well as some unexpected plot twists.

It’s a study of the characters for Thompson and McCormack that is worth diving into, and that they physically erase obstacles but compose them in other ways, making this sexual cat-and-mouse game no less exciting than watching where it takes us – and they’re next . This is a film about rejecting the past, establishing intimacy on more than one level, establishing human connections and discovering something completely new. Both stars can’t be the best, and in fact it marks a real breakthrough in the mainstream for British stage and TV actor McCormack, who can no doubt let Reg-Jean Paige escape for his money. For Thompson, it is better for her to be ready for the next award, which will take place in a year. This is one of her best moments, and an irresistible role, and rare one for actors of a certain age.

Produced by Debbie Gray and Adrian Politowski. It comes from Genesius Pictures.





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