The following contains spoilers for the recently released film. Good luck to you, Leo Grande now streaming on Hulu.
The Hulu Original Movie Good luck to you, Leo Grande premiered on January 22, 2022 at Sundance and was later released for streaming on June 17, 2022. The film starred Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack (recurring on Peaky Blinders) in what was billed as an age-gap romance between a male escort and an older widow. Good luck to you, Leo Grande starts out this way, but the film veers off in a different direction, focusing more on the dramatic aspects of their dynamics and society’s view of sex and sex workers.
The film is incredibly sexual and contains many sexy scenes, but there is no blossoming romance between the film’s protagonists. Leo Grande is the name of the escort Nancy Stokes hires, so she can experience different forms of sex that she didn’t have in her marriage. Her character is a representation of “mainstream” views on sex, focusing on the pent up feelings she has experienced throughout her life. She even shared an important story from her past when she kissed a stranger in the dark of night once, but they were interrupted and she never felt that sense of freedom again.
Leo Grande offers her another perspective when it comes to sex and self-acceptance. He often reminds her that she is beautiful, and she finds it hard to believe him. Leo represents sex positivity in its truest form, as he is sexually open and finds many types of people attractive. He doesn’t stop himself and his clients from expressing themselves sexually, and he goes from being generally open to Nancy to being frustrated with her inability to relax. They meet several times, and she opens up a little more as they go along, but she insults him with her assumptions and judgments, not realizing that she’s clinging to old beliefs that keep the job going. illegal and less safe sex.
Sex work is a major topic repeatedly discussed in Good luck to you, Leo Grande as Nancy slowly begins to respect what Leo does for her and others, but goes too far when she researches Leo and finds out his real name. She offers to be the connecting piece between him and his mother, but he understandably becomes enraged by her boundary violations. In the end, she apologizes and acknowledges that her attachment to him was unhealthy and overstepped, and she realized that their sessions together had made her more open and accepting of herself. She then asserts that sex work should be respected in society, and she proudly introduces Leo to a former student as an escort she had hired.
They separate after their last meeting, which made Good luck to you, Leo Grande definitely not a romance. There was no real love shared between the characters, but there was a refreshing acceptance between two generations struggling to understand each other. Times have changed and the film represents this in a powerful way, giving voice to the older generation’s general fear of the consequences of sex and the younger generation’s general acceptance that most people need a healthier relationship with sex and themselves.
At the end of Good luck to you, Leo Grande, Nancy finally learns to love herself. She has an orgasm for the very first time in her life, and it’s without the help of any machine or another person. It’s a gift she gives to herself that frees her from the shame that sex once inflicted on her. She also stands in front of the mirror after Leo leaves for the last time, and she smiles at her naked body, showing the audience that she loves who she is and accepts her body as it is. The film’s surprising shift from romance to a coming-of-age film for older women was refreshing, and many critics agree that Good luck to you, Leo Grande sits at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes.
To experience the refreshing sex-positive comedy, watch Good Luck to You, Leo Grande on Hulu.