‘I don’t look in the mirror’: Emma Thompson’s body image struggles

Jun 10, 2022
Emma Thompson gets candid about body image issues. Source: Getty

Beloved actress Emma Thompson has opened up about facing her body image struggles through her latest role in the upcoming film, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande.

The veteran actress, 63, plays widower Nancy, who after years of marriage to the same man, meets a male escort on her journey looking for connection, fun and self-discovery.

In an interview on the British talk show Lorraine, Thompson revealed her new role caused her to reflect on her own issues with body image, saying people are “brainwashed” into being unhappy with their bodies.

“I don’t look in the mirror and if I do, I look away. We’re brainwashed from very early on to not see something that we can’t accept,” the actress said.

“It has been industrialised, the human body is not honestly represented on screen, pretty much ever, and especially not in my industry.”

Thompson said the role was a challenge for her, as she felt her body never “conformed” to Hollywood’s beauty standards, creating image struggles for herself. The star compared the way she looked at herself, to the way her character Nancy viewed her body.

“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,” she said.

“But in the movie, at that point, Nancy’s body has just given her these seconds of pure pleasure and she is marvelling at it – not ‘it’ as it looks, but ‘it’ as it has become to her. A place she can be happy. A place she can find genuine bliss.”

In the honest interview, Thompson said she’d “never really been offered sex scenes” so the role was a shift in her usual casting.

“She’s [Nancy] someone who has been widowed and it looking back at her life and thinking, ‘I’m not sure that I’ve ever experienced that essential part of my life’, or sexual pleasure of any kind,” Thomson said.

“She’s never had an orgasm – not even on her own.”

The movie will be a refreshing change as it tackles the taboo topic of sex, especially for women, with the actress saying “women’s pleasure is never at the top of anyone’s agenda and women don’t know how to own up to it or ask their partners”.

“I think we are quite dishonest about sex as a society, she [Nancy] has the courage to do it, but the reality of it is quite different,” Thompson said.

The film is due to be released in Australian cinemas on August 18, 2022.

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