One of the UK’s most beloved actresses, Emma Thompson once again gives a sublime and affectionate performance to add to her roster, this time in a romantic and emotionally explorative comedy two-hander with relative newcomer Daryl McCormack (catch him in Peaky Blinders), directed by Sophie Hyde and written by comedian Katy Brand.
Thompson stars as Nancy, a lonely widow experiencing a somewhat sexual awakening, in which she arranges to meet McCormack’s self-proclaimed “sex worker” in her hotel room. The chemistry between the two leads is immediately real and palpable, with Nancy and “Leo Grande” helping each find out more about each other’s lifestyles, pasts and regrets. The film premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and gained rave critic reviews throughout its run through cinemas. Thompson gives a rich performance and is completely watchable as ever, whilst McCormack is destined to play more big roles in his screen career (a future Bond perhaps??)
The film is clever and funny throughout, with Brand’s script being sensitive but comedic in its approach to the subject of sex and being paid (and paying for) sexual pleasure. Thompson and McCormack are such warm presences that you forget there’s hardly another character seen in the film. Director Hyde makes great use of the setting in the posh hotel room, where the film practically remains. Nancy is a relatable character given a thorough (if maybe predictable) back story, while the enigma of “Leo Grande” gets gradually peeled back through the film’s runtime, proving to be as rewarding for the audience as it is for Nancy…
Also watch: Animals, Late Night, Who You Think I Am
For fans of: An Education, Jeune & Jolie, Lost In Translation