Female desire is not a topic that gets a lot of space in mainstream Hollywood movies. And the desire of women north of 45? Well, that’s been almost exclusively the province of Nancy Meyers, Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton. There have been others, sure, but it’s often either played for humor or scrubbed and sanitized of anything remotely carnal. Usually it’s some horrifyingly infantilized combination of both. It’s as though someone decided that audiences couldn’t possibly bear to watch a woman of menopause age acting or even feeling sexual and few have dared to challenge that notion.
That’s all to say that it is a small miracle that “ Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” a smart, nuanced and adamantly sex-positive film about a 55-year-old woman, exists. In the film, written by Katy Brand and directed by Sophie Hyde, Emma Thompson plays said woman. Nancy is a retired religion teacher and somewhat recent widow who hires a handsome young sex worker, the titular Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack), for a night
We’re introduced to the characters, essentially the only ones in the film, in a perfect, dialogue-free sequence right before they meet. It tells you a lot about who they are and how they exist in the world, but not everything. There’s basically 90 minutes of wide-ranging conversations to follow that will help flesh out that whole conundrum.