Sundance 2022: Good Luck to You, Leo Grande

For my coverage I’m writing shorter reviews of first impressions. Thoughts about the films I watched and plan to delve into more when they are releasd. Here’s the first dispatch on Emma Thompson in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack appear in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande by Sophie Hyde, an official selection of the Premieres section at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Nick Wall. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or ‘Courtesy of Sundance Institute.’ Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

In Good Luck to You, Leo Grande Emma Thompson reminds us why we need movie stars. Why do we build that relationship over time and cherish it. Thompson is a great actress and here she’s playing a fictional character not herself. Yet so much of how I reacted to this performance was based on the history I have with Thompason. My idea of her screen persona and why I’ve always loved watching her.

Thompson is Nancy Stokes, a 50-ish widow who’s never had an orgasm in her life. She hires a sex worker (Daryl McCormack) and the film follows the two as they try fulfilling Nancy’s desires and fantasies over three encounters.The screenplay by Katy Brand and the direction by Sophie Hyde are both breezy, unfussy and McCormack is a clear comforting presence. A good foil for Thompson. 

But this is all Thompson. And again our history with her. When she sits down to tell a sex memory, just lying inbed. No fuss in language, or camera movements. Just Thompson. We believe her but more than that we feel for her. We do that because we are also thinking of Margaret Schlagel and Elinor Dashwood and Laren from Love Actually. Our feelings about her and her new wonderful performance crash into each other and the spillover is pure joy.

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