Film Review: Afternoon Delight | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Afternoon Delight

Studio: The Film Arcade
Written and directed by Jill Soloway

Aug 30, 2013 Web Exclusive
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Los Angeles housewife Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) is in a rut. She hasn’t been intimate with her husband Jeff (Josh Radnor) in months; she feels alienated from her five-year-old-son; her writing career has fizzled out; her social life has devolved into an endless cycle of empty volunteer work with the other preschool moms. On a friend’s suggestion, Rachel visits a strip club with her husband in hopes of kickstarting their bedroom activities, where he buys her a private lap dance from a dancer named McKenna (Juno Temple.) As the days go by, she stalks down the troubled young stripper, becomes obsessed with saving her from her sordid lifestyle, and finally brings her into the family’s home as a live-in-nanny.

There are a number of predictable plot paths the movie could follow from that point, but Afternoon Delight thankfully doesn’t take any one of them. You might expect a gradual sexual awakening of some sort from Rachel-a lesbian awakening? a stripper awakening?-but writer/director Jill Soloway (HBO’s Six Feet Under) avoids the easy options, choosing a more complicated (and realistic-feeling) trajectory for her heroine. Kathryn Hahn is outstanding as the unraveling Rachel, portraying her on the constant verge of a mid-life breakdown; in her first major lead role, she shows herself capable of significantly more depth than she’s had the chance to display in her regular goofball comedy roles. Hahn anchors this surprising drama-comedy with a breakout performance.

Author rating: 6.5/10

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