Beyond the fact that they're arriving on streaming platforms the same week, the Sundance hits Good Luck to You, Leo Grande and Cha Cha Real Smooth have a couple of things in common. They both mix comedy and drama and have somewhat odd, unwieldy titles. They both focus on a hazily defined relationship between a younger man and an older woman. And while I definitely prefer one to the other, both movies are well worth your time.
The better of the two is Hulu's Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, a funny and strikingly intimate British chamber piece that unfolds almost entirely between two people in a hotel room. Emma Thompson plays Nancy, a retired schoolteacher in her 50s, and Daryl McCormack plays Leo Grande, the 20-something sex worker she's hired.
After a stable but unexciting long marriage to a husband who died two years earlier, Nancy now wants to have the kind of sex she's always dreamed of. But she's also extremely nervous and embarrassed, and initially tries to talk herself and Leo out of their arrangement.
Nancy and Leo do eventually have sex, on multiple occasions. The movie, elegantly directed by Sophie Hyde from a sharp script by Katy Brand, takes place over four separate appointments, all at the same hotel. But most of the action takes place before the sex, as the characters talk about what they're about to do, and Leo helps Nancy work through her fears.