Directed by Jill Soloway
Rachel is a quick-witted and lovable stay-at-home mom. Frustrated with the realities of preschool auctions, a lackluster sex life and career that's gone kaput, Rachel visits a strip club to spice up her marriage and meets McKenna, a stripper she adopts as her live-in nanny.
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★★★★ review by Anthony Le on Letterboxd
Part of A Film A Day
"Afternoon Delight" is an absolutely delightful little film. It was hugely overlooked in 2013, as there were so many other great films. It's real, smart, and darkly comedic. The premise is completely intriguing, as it immerses the audience fully throughout it's rather short runtime. Though the plot is often predictable, the cast provides enough charisma, and charm to keep viewers engaged. "Afternoon Delight" is a simple film; nothing to figure out, and nothing to speculate. You get what you see on screen. But with these characters, and the realistic dialogue, "Afternoon Delight" provides a sad, though often funny look into the effects of loneliness, and the pursuit for self assurance.
★★★★ review by Kurdt on Letterboxd
Jill Soloway's Afternoon Delight seems to have gotten some poor reviews (though not on Letterboxd thankfully) but I feel that's due to people going in with totally the wrong expectations. Judging by the title, the marketing and even the casting, the film seems like it's a laugh-a-minute comedy in the vein of Bridesmaids. That could not be further from the truth. While there are some laughs and some genuine hilarious moments, this is quite a dark drama peppered with some comedy. Afternoon Delight studies the midlife crisis, only unusually from a women's perspective. Kathryn Hahn's Rachel has a great life with a husband, a young son, a great house, but she feels she's in a rut. After no sex with her husband for six months, she takes him and a few friends to a strip club to spice it up a bit. That's where they meet Juno Temple's McKenna.
Rachel's relationship with McKenna is the glue that holds this film together, and it's pulled off extremely well by two great actresses. Their friendship never stays in one place, is always moving since neither of them seems to know exactly what they want from life. They try to accommodate and fix each other as the relationship ebbs and flows. It's a great clash of styles and while you always have the feeling it's not going to end well, you enjoy it while it lasts. The film hinges on Rachel having to discover (or re-discover) her place in the world after a hectic few years, and McKenna's reckless lifestyle means she is pushed right into the deep end and has to tread water while everything starts crashing around her. The great supporting cast (including an excellent Josh Radnor as her husband) all have interesting, well developed characters to sink their teeth into and that's a credit to Soloway's excellent script which always feels very natural.
The best and probably most surprising aspect of the film is it's darkness. Throughout, there is always an aspect of dark undertones hovering around the film despite the bright lighting and smooth camera work. One brilliant 15 minute or so scene in the final third of the film cranks the dark tones up big time as we see the true state of Rachel's crisis come to the surface while at the same time McKenna wreaks some havoc. That's what sets Afternoon Delight apart from other similar films - it isn't afraid to show the dark side of it's seemingly 'normal' characters and shine a light on how even the people with the supposedly easiest lives have just as many troubles and fears as the rest of mankind.
★★★½ review by Natasha C. on Letterboxd
You know what? I kinda liked it, its better than I thought!
★★★★ review by Danny Baldwin on Letterboxd
Undeniably overstuffed and over-reliant on visual punctuation, but Soloway's incapacity for understatement makes the nature of her achievement—both a comedy about and sympathetic portrayal of upper-class Angeleno existence—all the more miraculous. It's also refreshing to see a movie with such a flair for the dramatic take on an ultimately optimistic worldview, given that drama inherently veers toward the brooding. Kathryn Hahn is aces; it sure took long enough for her to be provided a vehicle she could really drive.
★★★★ review by bella on Letterboxd
Major love to any film that parallels the lives of offbeat, imperfect women and builds a narrative off their growing and changing dynamic.
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