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I’ve been waiting in anticipation for this new Searchlight Pictures film to be released. I’m a big Emma Thompson fan first of all and if she’s attached to something then I will most likely be checking it out. Secondly, I’m always very interested in plots that explore different aspects of sexuality and desire. I’m especially interested when the person doing the exploring doesn’t fit the exact box of who we usually see sexually active in film and television.
And lastly, I was drawn in by Daryl McCormack and interested to see his performance here, especially since I’ve not seen him in anything else. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a film that satisfies on almost all levels and it’s one I hope folks check out.
I’m someone that is very much pro sexual liberation and I hate seeing harmful unnecessary shame being thrust upon people simply for acting on natural human desires. I got the sense from watching the trailers for this that Good Luck to You, Leo Grande has a similar outlook and I was correct.
One of the most admirable aspects about Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is how it’s unafraid to be bold and celebrate the joys of sexuality. The script does this without ever being crass. This film is actually quite intimate and cozy. Here are two people of different generations and experiences coming together and giving one another what they desire and, in some ways, need.
The way the script navigates the connection between these two nuanced characters is interesting. I will say that not every minute is as good as the overall end result but the really good parts are high quality enough to where some of the more average aspects are forgiven. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande shines the brightest when these two wonderful performers are just having honest conversations about their lives and the challenges they have faced and continue to face.
I liked hearing about Thompson’s characters past repression and how she’s really never experienced true sexual pleasure. We watch her go through a process of having to break down her feelings of shame that have been ingrained in her since childhood. Watching someone shed that toxic layer of shame and conformance that has held them back for so long is really lovely and satisfying.
But we don’t only see a breakthrough of sorts from Thompson’s character, we see one from McCormack as well and that’s interesting in its own way. Sometimes really confident people can seem free of all that toxic waste that weighs folks down but this film reminds you that that’s not the case.
McCormack’s baggage is different from Thompson’s and seeing how they are able to help one another contributes to the overall impact of the film. Impactful is also a word I could use to describe both of these lead performances. Emma Thompson is so honest and vulnerable in this and that’s exactly what this type of role demands.
And I can’t wait to see more from Daryl McCormack, who is a lot more than just a dreamboat. Yes, his handsomeness and physique do help to draw you to him for sure, but I’ve seen really hot actors without much acting ability be cast in previous projects and it just comes off as flat.
McCormack has both the dreamy good looks and the ability to convince you that he is this character. His performance is endearing and I thought, very sweet. It’s very easy as an audience member to fall for his character because he’s so sweet and patient and just all around lovely.
That kind of nature is exactly what Emma Thompson’s character needs at this juncture in her life. The chemistry between Thompson and McCormack really works very well, which is good because the entire film hinges upon it.
The last detail I want to cover is the ending and final scene, which I found to be very fitting and hopeful. The ending is not exactly what one may call a “Hollywood ending” but it works for this story and it sends these people off into the world with a sort of renewed confidence. I saw it as a happy but also realistic ending. It’s not an over the top dramatic conclusion, instead it’s quiet and soothing.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a very well performed film that tells an intriguing and important story. This isn’t exactly a 10, but it’s very well constructed and ultimately satisfying.
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