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Film Of The Week Better liberated late than never

MARIA DUARTE recommends a much overdue film about a middle-aged woman who learns to love her body and herself, with the help of a sex worker

Good Luck To You, Leo Grande (15)
Directed by Sophie Hyde

 

FINALLY, an empowering and uplifting film about a middle-aged woman who embarks on a post-marital sexual awakening as she learns to love her body and herself, with the help of a male sex worker.

It is both funny yet poignant as retired RE teacher in her sixties Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson) meets Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) in a hotel room for the adventure of her life, which initially proves awkward and embarrassing as she finds herself out of her comfort zone and depth while Grande does everything to allay her fears and fulfil her fantasy.

Set in the one location throughout, this two-hander feels initially like a play, but soon transcends that with a career-defining performance by Thompson, who seamlessly moves to and fro from drama to comedy and back over the course of 97 minutes, and a spectacular turn by McCormack (Peaky Blinders, The Wheel of Time), who holds his own marvellously with the double-Oscar winner.

Written and created by Katy Brand just months before the pandemic, it is a multi-layered drama presenting itself as taboo-busting for presenting a sex worker as smart, compassionate and loving his job.

He isn’t being exploited and he chose this vocation because he enjoys making his clients happy and goes the extra mile to ensure that — though Nancy has trouble accepting this.

The film explores the contentious question of legalising prostitution and of sexual “services” as a health benefit for older people. It also touches on Nancy’s inability to experience an orgasm in her 30 years of marriage, which she informs Leo he must not see as a challenge.

Admitting she has always been ashamed of her body, he responds: “Your body is beautiful. I wish you could see that.”

This is a refreshing tale about intimacy, making human connections, being sexually adventurous at any age and learning to be comfortable in your own skin, and Thompson is a super star for baring both body and soul.
 

In cinemas

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