Afternoon Delight

Afternoon Delight
Directed by Jill Soloway
Starring Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch
In UK Cinemas March 28th, 2014

by Joanna Orland

This independent film won director Jill Soloway the Best Directing accolades at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  A fresh take on the bored housewife theme, Afternoon Delight is about Rachel (Hahn) who is struggling to overcome boredom in her sexless marriage to Jeff (Radnor).  She is seeing therapist Lenore (Lynch) once a week to vaguely discuss her issues, but she almost seems to not even have the will to overcome them.  On a unique night out for Rachel and Jeff, their friends take them to a strip club in order to help spice up their marriage.  Jeff treats Rachel to a lap dance by the stripper McKenna (Temple) which somehow awakens something in Rachel.

The story follows the relationship between Rachel and McKenna as Rachel takes the stripper into her home in an attempt to help “save” her.  Obviously this is also an attempt to save herself and her marriage.  The script is strong, but the performances are what keeps the momentum in this film.  Everything about it is so naturalistic, even in the unlikely story of a suburban family taking in a sex worker into their home to babysit their 5-year-old child.  McKenna is no pretty woman.  She blatantly enjoys her work and has no shame in what she does.  She helps Rachel realize what is important in life, part of which is sexually connecting with her spouse.

While the film is interesting to watch, it’s not one that will live on in our memories.  It lacks that special something that gives successful indie films their launch into the mainstream.  Even so, if you fancy a little indie gem to watch, this could be the delight you’re looking for.

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