‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ Plot Synopsis
From director Sophie Hyde and screenwriter Katy Brand, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande stars Emma Thompson as retired school teacher Nancy Stokes. A widow of two years, Nancy is unfulfilled sexually. Despite her prudish nature, she hires a sex worker by the name of Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) to help her learn to embrace pleasure for the first time in her life.
Why does Nancy hire a sex worker?
At 60-or-so years old, Nancy Stokes (not her real name) has never experienced an orgasm. Her married sex life was unfulfilling, and she feels she’s wasted her life trying to do things “properly.”
When Leo Grande (also not his real name) arrives at her hotel room, he asks Nancy what her fantasy is. “To have sex? With you? Do you mind?” she answers, wracked with nerves.
The retired school teacher can’t exactly articulate what she wants to gain from their meetings (they have several more). But she makes a list of sexual activities her husband never wanted to try, and Leo happily agrees to help her check off the items.
How does Leo Grande help Nancy?
Nancy hires Leo for three sessions. Each time, she has a goal, but nerves tend to get the better of her, and they fill up most of their time talking.
Leo is essentially the antithesis to Nancy. Where she has long been sexually repressed and judgmental, Leo has always been freer and more willing to embrace his sexuality.
At first, Nancy doesn’t understand. She asks him how he doesn’t have moral qualms about being in the field he’s in. She wonders how he could want to be intimate with some clients, including herself (she’s ashamed of her age).
But he patiently bears Nancy’s questions and insecurities. Leo helps her relax. He shows her pleasure. He tells her stories about his clients and how he loves what he does.
Throughout their time together, Nancy becomes a little more understanding of Leo’s line of work, more accepting of her own body, and more comfortable in seeking pleasure.
Why does Leo storm out of their third session?
Things are going well during Nancy’s third session with Leo. They have developed an easy rapport and have crossed several items off Nancy’s list.
They have even opened up a bit about their personal lives. Nancy, about having a son who bores her and a daughter who is a bit too wild for her. Leo says less, but he mentions having a mother and a brother who both think he works at an oil rig.
Curious to know more, Nancy crosses a line when she does some research to find out that Leo is actually named Connor. She goes further to suggest that they could meet outside their sessions, and even be friends.
Leo is furious. “This is Leo Grande,” he says. “I made him and I’m proud of him.” He tells her he’s never lied about what he’s been providing her: a professional service.
Because Nancy has been pressing him for more information, he finally tells her about his mom. She tells everyone her son is dead.
When Nancy asks what he did to his mom, he’s even angrier that she would make assumptions. His mother disowned him when he was 15.
Leo then tells her to stop judging him. He says she doesn’t care about the truth of his life. She only wanted someone “exotic and broken.” And now she’s found him.
He then storms out of the room.
How does ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ end?
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande ends with one final meeting between Nancy and Leo. Nancy pays for another session to get coffee with Leo and to apologize to him for overstepping.
Leo says he told his brother about his job, and it turned out that he had already guessed what he did. His mom still doesn’t talk about him, however.
Nancy realizes she should be prouder and more loving of her own children. She then calls their waitress, Becky Foster, over. Becky was one of Nancy’s students. Nancy apologizes for how she would shame Becky and other girls by calling them “sluts.” She tells Becky that she’s learned that pleasure is a wonderful thing, and she introduces Leo to her as a sex worker.
Later, Nancy and Leo go upstairs to have sex, but Nancy experiences her first orgasm completely on her own.
After Leo leaves, Nancy takes off her clothes and looks at herself in the mirror. She smiles, content with her body for the first time.
Read More: Good Luck To You, Leo Grande Movie Review