There is something fundamentally honest about ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.’ Directed by Sophie Hyde, the film revolves around multiple meetings between the 60-something widow and retired high school teacher Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson) and young and handsome sex worker Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack). Nancy has led her life the way it was expected of her — prioritizing her roles as a mother, wife, and teacher over her identity as a woman. After her husband’s death and her retirement, she feels she can finally pursue her own needs. Still, in her first session with Leo, Nancy is filled with trepidation and regret. Fortunately, those things do go away. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande Plot Synopsis
The film begins as the two main characters prepare themselves for the session. Nancy has never done something like this before and is predictably on edge. She arrives early at the hotel room and tries to settle into the surroundings. For Leo, on the other hand, it’s part of what he defines as normal. He spends some time at a restaurant before heading to the hotel.
The first meeting is as awkward as one might expect, at least initially. Having led her life in a completely different way, Nancy isn’t sure what to do in her current situation, oscillating between feeling guilty, terrified, and stressed. At the same time, a part of her is excited by the prospect of exploring her sexuality.
In all her life, Nancy has never experienced an orgasm, not even by herself. She is now at a point where she thinks it will remain unattainable. By employing Leo’s services, she isn’t necessarily seeking full sexual pleasure. Instead, she wants to experience her sexuality. Nancy has lived her life conservatively, ignoring her sexual needs and curiosity because she was told that was what a proper girl would do. Her youth passed her by without her making those quintessential youthful mistakes. She wasn’t aware of what she was giving up until it was too late.
As she tells Leo, she doesn’t necessarily want to be a 16-year-old girl again but wants to experience those moments of sexual pleasure she sidestepped when she was 16. For her second session with Leo, she makes a list of things that she wants to do with him. One can argue that this underscores the transactional aspect of their relationship, and it does. But that part wasn’t something that the filmmakers were trying to deny. It remains at the forefront throughout the film. What the scene in question means to show is that Nancy has begun to come out of her shell. She has become assertive and even eager to get her money’s worth. Nancy still has a long way to go, but these are positive changes.
Good Luck to You, Leo Grande Ending: Why Does Nancy Stop Booking Leo?
Since her husband’s death, Nancy has been approached by men around her age, but she is interested in men younger than her. That becomes one of the main reasons why she books Leo. He is young, handsome, and represents the missed opportunities of her youth. Nancy is a woman of an age bracket whose sexual needs are rarely addressed in films and TV shows. And in the rare instances, it does, the approach is almost always comedic. This is why ‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ is such a breath of fresh air. It tackles such an issue with great care while ensuring the story remains both entertaining and exciting.
As Nancy becomes more confident around Leo, she becomes confident in her own skin. Her external experience directly influences her inner growth. By the end of the film, she becomes a version of herself that is no longer hindered by the opinions of society. Interestingly, the film also points out that before this transition, Nancy was very much one of those women that criticized other women for their sexual awareness. She pretty much agreed with the overall prudish mentality of the British people toward sex.
That goes through genuine changes during Nancy’s sessions with Leo. She realizes her own prejudices and earnestly tries to overcome them. Toward the end of the film, she and Leo meet at the cafeteria of the hotel. This is the first time they meet outside the room. Initially, Nancy isn’t sure whether Leo will show up after she took away his anonymity and found out what his real name is. While Nancy is waiting, she is approached by a staff member, Becky, one of her former students. Although Nancy is initially irked by the fact that she has been recognized by someone right before she is about to meet Leo, she later realizes that this response was her old self acting out. With Leo’s permission, Nancy reveals the true nature of their relationship to Becky and even apologizes for saying horrible things to her when she was her student.
Eventually, Nancy does have an orgasm. As she basks in the aftermath of intimacy and watches Leo move around the room, something happens to her. She wasn’t expecting this, but it is not unwelcome. By the end of the film, Nancy has found the sexual awareness that she has always missed in her life. Her fears and reservations about her own body and sexuality have significantly waned. She doesn’t need Leo for sexual intimacy any longer. After reluctantly ignoring it for years, Nancy learns to embrace her sexuality. She knows that she will be alright; Leo knows it as well. This is as good a place as any to end their transactional relationship.
Will Nancy and Leo Ever See Each Other Again?
‘Good Luck to You, Leo Grande’ is not a romance film. When Leo and Nancy part, there is a sense of permanence to it. They have been part of each other’s life for a brief period but end up having a profound effect. If with Leo’s help, Nancy finds her way to sexual awareness, she encourages Leo to mend things with his family. He reaches out to his brother and tells him what he does for a living. Apparently, the 24-year-old military personnel never believed Leo’s working-at-an-oil-rig cover story.
Nancy and Leo — lonely in their own ways — come together, interact, and change each other’s life for the better. In certain aspects, Leo is like Peter Pan. He is a lost boy who has been deprived of the love and comfort of his family. Nancy’s final line to Leo echoes the film’s title, underscoring that this is the last time they meet as customer and client. But the future has always been unpredictable, if it has been anything at all. They can always run into each other at some point down the line. Or, Nancy can seek him out for comfort. But, for now, they are parting ways for good.
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