11/23/2022 | By Annie Tobey

Possibly the most empowering film regarding older women and body image, “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande,” was released in June 2022. The film starred Emma Thompson as Nancy Stokes, a widow and retired schoolteacher who wanted to capture the sensuality that her life had lacked. Stokes – and Thompson – learned to better accept both sensuality and their aging bodies.

“It’s not vain to enjoy your body. To love it,” Leo Grande told Stokes. Grande (Daryl McCormack) was the young man tasked with helping Stokes find the pleasure that she wanted to experience.

Emma Thompson admits that she has personally battled body image issues. “I don’t look in the mirror and if I do, I look away,” she said. “We’re brainwashed from very early on to not see something that we can’t accept.”

Sixty-three-year-old Thompson told the Sunday Times, “When I’m looking in the mirror, I’m always trying to make myself look ‘better’ – turning this way or that, checking out my a**e, pulling something in. Simply revealing my utter incapacity to accept my body as it is.”

sad older woman looking in mirror. Image by Motortion. “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” addresses older women and body image. Emma Thompson's character seeks the sensuality her life has lacked.

As an actor, Thompson recognizes that the portrayal of women in media promotes the prettiest and youngest. “Normally, the bodies that we choose to put on screen have been treated in some way. They’re either bodies that conform to what we’ve decided is the ideal, which is impossible for most people to achieve, which is why most women will look in the mirror, or not look in the mirror, because they experience a kind of loathing or hatred, or at the very least a dissatisfaction,” she told NPR.

But playing the role in “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” helped Thompson to embrace her body as it is. “It made me re-recognize the waste of time that non-acceptance of one’s body is,” she said. Perhaps as importantly, she hopes that the film will help other women, including to mothers who can better support daughters who struggle with body image. “Everything about it, I hope, will give people a release and a kind of desire to appreciate themselves, to appreciate their bodies, and what their bodies can do for them and not to continually want them to be something else.”

“Good Luck to You, Leo Grande” is available to watch on Hulu.

Related: Healthy skin from the inside out

Annie Tobey

Annie Tobey has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years. As editor of BOOMER magazine, she explored a diversity of topics of particular interest to adult children of seniors. When she’s not writing, she can be found running the trails or enjoying a beer with friends.

Annie Tobey