erotic pas de deux in a hotel room


In one month, female desire and pleasure, questioned through the prism of prostitution, will have been at the heart of three feature films. only joyby the German Henrika Kull, The Houseby the Frenchwoman Anissa Bonnefont, and the latest, My Dates with Leo, by the Australian Sophie Hyde, who, far from widening the framework devoted in the preceding films to a brothel, tightens it on the contrary on a few square meters. Consider a hotel room, of a commonly modern and impersonal chic.

Unique place where, for ninety minutes, two characters meet and agree to see each other again: Nancy Stokes (Emma Thompson), over sixty, retired professor, widow for two years, and Leo Grande (Daryl McCormack) , the thirty-year-old escort boy she called upon, after several weeks of hesitation and reflection. The initiative is a vital momentum. Woman of a single man, to whom she remained married for thirty-one years, Nancy has never felt the slightest sexual pleasure. She decided to give herself one last chance.

On paper, the statement of the story – like the poster of the film – lets imagine the worst (inappropriate humor, clumsy remarks, indelicate exits from the road). These fears vanish from the first minutes when accuracy and delicacy are needed in the blink of an eye, carried through the peephole of a door. It will remain so until the end, thanks to the quality of writing of the screenwriter Katy Brand and the precision of the pas de deux that manage to deliver, in demi-pointe, Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack. She, deliciously unsteady on the rigorous score she has chosen to perform; he, constantly adjusting his step to that of his partner, attentive and graceful in his movements, solid in his determination. Which aims to make the meeting as fluid and relaxed as possible.

Letting go in four acts

Only, reaching letting go requires a lot of rehearsals and discussions that the film organizes in four acts. Or the number of meetings necessary to lay bare, literally and figuratively, Nancy. A woman with an ordinary story that she used to plan down to the smallest detail. And that everything prevents today, education, morality, prejudices, prohibitions, fear of judgement, complexes… So much so that embarrassment prevails during his first meeting with Leo where, in turn, Nancy panics, wants to abandon the idea and give the escort boy a break, loses her temper, tells snippets of her story, tries to justify herself, questions the young man about his profession and the reasons that led him led to choose it.

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