Afternoon Delight (tbc)

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The ViewWellington Review

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Review byJennifer tate19/10/2013

Four out of Five stars

Running time: 95 mins

Stylishly directed and emotionally engaging, Afternoon Delight is an enjoyable romantic drama with refreshingly interesting female characters and a duo of impressive performances from Kathryn Hahn and Juno Temple.

What’s it all about?
Written and directed by Jill Soloway, Afternoon Delight stars Kathryn Hahn as Rachel, a frustrated Los Angeles housewife living with her workaholic husband, Jeff (Josh Radnor) and their toddler son in suburban Silverlake. Annoyed with her lack of a sex life and spurred on by her yummy mummy friend, Rachel takes her husband to a strip club in the hope that it might spice things up a bit. Whilst there, she meets McKenna (Juno Temple), a teenage tearaway who gives her a lap dance and a few days later, the pair become friends after bumping into each other in the street. When McKenna is evicted from her home, Rachel invites her to live with them in their family home as a nanny, but when McKenna’s second job as a high-class escort is exposed, Rachel’s seemingly perfect family life is put in jeopardy.

The Good
In a long overdue, starring non-comedic role, Kathryn Hahn is perfectly cast as the charming, but complex stay-at-home mum with deep, underlying issues and her heartfelt performance effortlessly carries the film from start to finish. Likewise, Juno Temple as the troublesome stripper is also wonderful (she nails the American accent, too), successfully giving her potentially very unlikeable character great depth and an empathetic quality.

Soloway’s script also holds a very thought-provoking, but uplifting message revolving around ‘the grass is greener’ syndrome and the dialogue is wonderfully naturalistic. The American filmmaker also triumphs with her stylish but subtle direction (Afternoon Delight marks her debut directorial feature) and her ability to accurately portray the realities of middle-class suburban life in Los Angeles. Finally, Jane Lynch is delightfully funny as Rachel’s self-important shrink, Lenore.

The Bad
Disappointingly the script leaves very little room for the men and when they do feature on screen, it’s as if Soloway wants the audience to dislike them, generally portraying them as constantly in the wrong. If it wasn’t for the excellent female character development and Hahn and Temple’s captivating performances, this could have easily been a big issue, but fortunately, she just about manages to get away with it.

Worth seeing?
Emotionally engaging, often funny and superbly acted, Afternoon Delight is an enjoyable and uplifting film that refreshingly puts Kathryn Hahn in the long-overdue spotlight. Recommended.

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Content updated: 17/12/2017 15:33

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