Emma Thompson Daryl McCormack
This is a fun and surprising movie about sex work that comes across as genuine in ways one wouldn’t expect. Yes, it has a lot of laugh-out-loud humor—which is good, since many encounters are clearly awkward. But the underlying truths and the transformation of both characters elevate the story above the purely entertaining.
I’m not sure how younger people will view the story. Maybe the older woman Nancy (artfully played by Thompson) will remind them of a parent who is in their eyes strait-laced and judgmental, and it will be rewarding to see that character change in significant ways. Or maybe they will be instantly turned off by an older woman discovering sex for the first time, despite the fact that she has grown children. “Boring!” as covered in the story.
For me, the film seems much like listening to a therapy session (ignoring the actual content for the most part). The intrigue and oddity of it lies in how much the sex worker “Leo” (McCormack) sounds like a good therapist—always empathic, understanding, insightful, and reassuring. He effectively overrides Nancy’s frequent misgivings and self-deprecations, re-focusing her attention on herself and her desires. Never before in her life have her wishes been considered top priority. That’s one new revelation/experience for her, but there will be many. Most importantly, her need for control will be addressed without her realizing it until after the fact.
A most important aspect of personal relationships is aptly addressed when like a “patient” Nancy does some sleuthing about Leo personally. (Neither uses his/her real identity for the “sessions.”) Leo reacts to this boundary infraction (this time not like a therapist), with outrage. An engaging part of the movie is still very much in seeing how the characters deal with the reality of their lives.
Thompson (as always) and McCormack as actors pull us into this story hook, line and sinker. Both make Nancy and Leo real in ways we can envision and care about them. She gets on the nerves from time to time, but his responses to her help us forgive her. And you realize that that’s how things should work between people. It’s a model for all of us to follow.
Something can be said about Daryl McCormick; he reminds us of Rege-Jean Page in the first season of “Bridgerton”, who became an international heart-throb before he left the show after the first season.
Kudos to writer Katy Brand who came up with this story and to director Sophie Hyde for making it into a movie about an older woman and a younger man that has both substance and wit—not an easy thing to do!
The film will be released on HULU on June 17, 2022.
A surprising comedy/drama that endears and has substance.
Grade: B By Donna R. Copeland