That title’s a right mouthful but it’s the only misstep by this intelligent sex dramedy, which sees Emma Thompson hire a hot young gigolo.
Retired, recently widowed teacher Nancy Stokes (Thompson – wonderful) has never had an orgasm. But with her fumbling husband (the only person she’s ever slept with) now gone, no-nonsense Nancy resolves to remedy matters.
Aged 60, she books a hotel room and a charismatic 20-something sex worker (Daryl McCormack) with the firm intention of ticking off every item on her sexual bucket list with maximum efficiency.
What Nancy hadn’t factored in was her own guilt and negative body image.
In her 1989 movie debut, The Tall Guy, Emma Thompson delivered one of the all-time Great British sex scenes. She equals that here with another brave, bare-all turn of a very different kind.
Flitting from assurance to vulnerability in a heartbeat, you can’t imagine anyone else but Thompson being able to pull this off. Nor could comedian-turned-writer Katy Brand, who wrote the part of Nancy specifically for her.
Watching Thompson’s Nancy tie herself in knots of exquisite awkwardness is a peculiar pleasure.
And whilst this is primarily Nancy’s journey, the movie is definitely a two-hander (oo-er), where charismatic Peaky Blinders newcomer McCormack impressively holds his own (oh, behave) against the formidable two-time Oscar winner.
The script gradually peels away his professional assurance, revealing Leo as more than some manic pixie rent boy or, as Nancy fears, some exploited young unfortunate.
It’s a star-making turn, but it’s the pair’s chemistry that’s the most compelling, holding you in the moment.
Shot during lockdown, at times the movie’s single, stage-like location makes it feel too, well, stage-y and a few of the lines scream ‘I’m a screenplay!’ But that’s a small niggle.
Funny, remarkable and honest. A female empowerment movie like no other.
Out Friday in cinemas.