Jill Soloway’s “Afternoon Delight”

afternoon-delight-kathryn-hahn-juno-templethree-stars15A raw and uncensored look at relationships and the harsh reality of being a sex worker, the film Afternoon Delight deals with a variety of issues both inside and outside of the bedroom. The undertones of comedy lay directly on top of a surprisingly dark storyline in which these characters deal with a strange turn of events within their otherwise routine lives.

Rachael (played by Kathryn Hahn) plays a stay at home mom trying to find herself again after her writing career has ended and her relationship with her husband has entered a sexless and distant phase. As she struggles to fit in with the other moms at her son’s school things only seem to become more difficult and disheartening. Her husband Jeff (played by Josh Radnor, mostly known for his character Ted from the sitcom How I Met Your Mother) also faces issues at work and when the two cannot seem to connect their journey leads them to a strip club to try to awaken the sexuality in their marriage. Juno Temple who plays the ‘sex worker’ McKenna delivers a strong performance and is not afraid to bare-all in this movie despite the possibility of pigeon holing herself into ‘certain indie film roles’.

About half way thru the film the story quickly turns into a gritty medley of awful moments. I found myself feeling a strange twinge of guilt when laughing at certain scenes. Although funny in some grim way, these scenes were dealing with controversial issues involving sex within relationships and were extremely dark and awkward.

There were parts in which it was clear that the filming style was letting the actor’s adlib while in character and this made for a very unique feeling throughout the film.  Although I did find this style of shooting to be a bit distracting at times and occasionally removed me from the rhythm of the scenes, it was a very raw way of telling this particular story.

Overall, I’m torn with my thoughts on this film. I enjoyed it and I disliked it. I appreciated the filming style and yet was constantly wondering if the actors were making up their lines as they went. The race to meet the Sundance Film Festival deadlines could explain the lack of depth given to some of the development in the characters. Despite the darkness of the movie I found some parts were creative, intelligent, and shockingly funny. Overall this was an interesting and entertaining cinematic experience.

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