Sophie Hyde’s latest will probably end up as one of the biggest surprises of the early festival circuit this year. Good Luck to You, Leo Grande may seem like a silly comedy without much to state on paper; but in fact, it’s an enlightening, inspirational lesson about sex and everything that surrounds it. From learning to accept and love ourselves, our own bodies, to creating an authentic human connection with someone — independently of age, profession, or gender — Katy Brand’s unrestrained screenplay deserves to be witnessed on a glorious silver screen.

The most significant achievement of Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is the film’s impressive ability to create a safe environment where the often-uncomfortable topics become comfortable within everyday conversation. From the purposefully insecure yet humorous beginning until the brilliantly perfect & meaningful final shot, Hyde brings Brand’s wise, witty, and illuminating script to life in an endearing fashion. The entire film holds just the right amount of humour to generate a light, fun, and adventurous atmosphere. But when it needs to become dramatic and emotional, it surprises the audience with great complexity. And here, the actors are crucial to the success of the movie. Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack possibly share the most positive, powerful chemistry between two leads of the last few years within the respective genre. Both actors deserve all of the available compliments in a dictionary; but Thompson may actually induce awards buzz beyond the festival. Every viewer at Sundance who has viewed Good Luck to You, Leo Grande since, has acknowledged her knack for acting, where Thompson literally offered her body to incorporate themes and motifs towards a complex character who’s deeply explored in a fascinating manner.

Albeit, the second act is a tad redundant and to incisive with its commentary. Hyde and Brand make all the points they set to transmit, but some are reprised far too frequently. However, the only real problem with Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is the fact that it spreads several messages surrounding sex positivity, and barely shows any of it. One could argue that it’s a case of “save the best for last”, but considering the occasional lack of energy and recurring subject matter during the first two acts and a good chunk of the third — it may also be seen as a contradictory decision. Still, the last few minutes hold in store some casual naughtiness and a riveting final shot.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, as part of the ‘Premieres’ category.

By Manuel São Bento

A 28-year-old critic with a tremendous passion for film, television, and the art of filmmaking. An unbiased perspective from someone who stopped watching trailers since 2016. Member of GFCA, IFSC, and OFTA. Approved on Banana Meter. Social media: @msbreviews.