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‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’: Robin’s movie review

For Movie Minutes, Robin Holabird takes a look at the new film starring Emma Thompson.

A movie poster shows a man and a woman sitting on the floor in front of a bed with the words “Good Luck to you, Leo Grande” written in all-capital, bold lettering.
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The awkward title Good Luck to You, Leo Grande provides no clue to the movie’s subject — a tricky concept many never want to face. That topic? The sexuality of post-menopausal women, making it hard to come up with any alternative and alluring title. Something like “full-frontal Emma Thompson” might ring a bell for those familiar with the film’s publicity, but the movie offers much more than that brief moment towards the end.

With a script by Katy Brand and direction from Sophie Hyde, the movie takes a woman’s perspective on the aging process. Realizing their story contains the antithesis of box office fodder, the women keep production elements simple, using few characters and locations. This puts a huge load on performers Thompson and Daryl McCormack of Peaky Blinders.

Thompson, in particular, gives the movie its heft, playing a widow who hires a sex worker so she can discover what she missed during her decades as a wife who never found any pleasure in the bedroom. Bouncy music lightens the tone, and Thompson blends serious issues with her witty manner so that the movie qualifies as a sex comedy.

Funny at times, the film brings up valid conflicts and good questions that deserve consideration. Talky in its early sequences, the story’s ultimate success requires sex scenes — slightly graphic but without any sense of exploitation. Director Hyde gets credit for this, but Thompson makes it all work by jumping in without restraint, giving a top performance in a career that includes Oscars for acting in Howards End, and adapting one version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

Thompson’s ultimate acting moment in Leo Grande requires something difficult for almost any woman: staring at her body with acceptance and appreciation. Not as easy as it sounds, and the well-crafted moment reflects careful planning and posing, with Thompson crediting portraits of Eve by the painter Albrecht Dürer. The result defies mass media expectations of poster girls, instead providing a rare cinematic opportunity to deal with reality.

This review aired on KUNR FM on Friday, June 24.

Robin Holabird is KUNR’s entertainment reviewer, author, and former film commissioner for the Nevada Film Office. You can browse a full archive of her reviews here.

Robin Holabird reviews movies for KUNR, and her reviews have aired for more than 30 years. During that time, she has had a high profile in the Nevada film community.
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