Emma Thompson displays emotion-laden vulnerability in the dramedy “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” but it’s the emotional factors that ultimately deserve recognition, in this funny and sensitively told two-hander that, understandably, is making its introduction on Hulu. Based on its story, the movie takes place in a motel suite, complete with boxes, clothing, and other paraphernalia.
Thompson introduces Nancy, a woman seeking the services of a sex worker played by McCormack, during her first meeting with Leo Grande. She has just lost her husband, who she was never sexually satisfied with, and she is seeking a new sexual experience. Both Leo and Nancy are aware of the absurdities of their situation, which leads to some funny moments. While Leo tries to act professional, he is clearly uncomfortable discussing his job with Nancy. They both share secrets about their lives as they talk about how their arrangement will work together.
Leo Grande provides a break from claustrophobia by means of the quality of the performances, including McCormack, an acclaimed Irish actor who is probably best known for “Peaky Blinders.”
Still, Thompson provides the film’s emotional core, playing a woman in her mid-50s who says, “I want to play at feeling young again,” speaks openly about never having experienced an orgasm and expresses concern early on that by doing this she’s “just a seedy old pervert.” The movie largely avoids being jokey or overly sentimental. Those who dwell on the “body positivity” element should not miss the underlying themes not only about accepting who you are but lamenting missed opportunities and roads not taken, which resonate in a very universal manner.
The small-scale nature of the project, which is produced through a sister Disney entity, Searchlight Pictures, makes its arrival via Hulu understandable; however, one hopes the work here isn’t overlooked or forgotten because of its understated nature and venue. So good luck to you, indeed; also, good luck to Nancy and Leo (again not their real names).