Good Luck to You, Leo Grande. Bad luck to everyone hoping to watch this anywhere in the North East of England. A late spurt of creativity and desire to tell touching, innovative stories for Emma Thompson sees a rewarding drama thrown everywhere but the former steel mills and coal mines. Thanks for that, Cornerstone Films. Perhaps the blame lies with distributors hoping to hold out another six screening rooms for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But Benedict Cumberbatch does not have a lapse of faith in his judgement or sexuality as Doctor Strange, but Emma Thompson does as Nancy Stokes, a woman who hopes to figure out what good sex is. Don’t we all?
The clear element director Sophie Hyde successfully mounts is the anxiety that comes before that inevitable passion. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande does exhibit its title with sophistication. Good luck indeed. Hyde chews down on some big topics and explores them with relatively cool results, a chilled temperament brings out the best in both leading performers more through the simplicity of the framing. There is great skill in knowing when and why to cut to what, and Hyde knows when to draw an audience closer to the champagne-drinking, smartly dressed pair at the core of this feature, and when to push them away. A little further than expected at some times, but the point there is to provide a bigger picture, a compound dialogue to open up a conversation about sex work from a different perspective. Whether it works is entirely up to how an audience perceives it. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande will unlikely change the minds of those who enter with a set opinion or thought pattern.
As touching as it is complex, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is sophisticated, open and charming. There is not just the framing of fear that comes apparent with those hoping to explore themselves and another individual but the thrill it can cause and the reflection it brings. Hyde continues their exceptional trend of unique dramatics and storylines in a genre over infused with and frequently exposed to similar themes that will engage with whatever is popular at the time of post-production. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande does not have that issue. Instead, it hopes the charms of its leading pair and the hard work they put in will win an audience over. Their efforts are apparent and their charm is obvious. Whether it works or not depends on the individual’s perception of sex as a media catalyst, which this feature successfully and naturally turns on its head.
Very touching and almost real. Thompson and Daryl McCormack of Peaky Blinders fame and Pixie shame make for a genuine and intimate pairing that notes the key themes and observations with sincerity. It feels a bit simple at times, not quite getting to the core issues of desire and formalities, but Hyde never feels quite prepared to tackle that anyway. It never comes to the forefront unless within the idle chit-chat that takes Good Luck to You, Leo Grande to a realm of a sexually charged conversation. My Dinner with Andre, but instead of a table between the two there is the implication of fear that comes from those inexperienced many. Thompson and McCormack are charming and a fantastic pairing that elevates the slower moments and drives the tougher scenes. Tender in all the right ways.