Afternoon Delight is a suitably entertaining comedy which works best when concentrating on generating laughs.
Rachel is a stay-at-home mother who finds the pre-school activities she must participate in unfulfilling. With her marriage stuck in a rut, Rachel suggests to her husband Jeff that they visit a strip club, little realising the chain of events that will follow…
Afternoon Delight‘s story of a comfortable but bored housewife could have been grating, with its portrait of privilege. However, the film amuses thanks to a decent script.
Writer-director Jill Soloway’s debut feature concentrates on Rachel and her relationship with others. She is an interesting protagonist because she perceives herself in a way that is not necessarily accurate. She does not group herself with the other mothers, yet she does not have a job either. Her dissatisfaction with life is made bearable through her witty approach to situations.
Afternoon Delight‘s narrative could have followed a number of paths. The ending is not really predictable, given what has come before. Although the film has comedic tendencies, the final quarter sees a shift in tone. It lacks the humour of the rest of the film; the ending is much more serious. It feels a little out of place, and the very ending appears contrived. It is a shame, as Afternoon Delight works up until this point.
Soloway employs lots of close up shots, giving the audience a sense of intimacy with the characters. She does not allow viewers to shy away, even when they might want to. The soundtrack to Afternoon Delight is fitting.
Kathryn Hahn does comedy and awkwardness well as Rachel. Juno Temple is well cast as McKenna, while solid support comes from Jessica St. Clair and Michaela Watkins.
Afternoon Delight is a little uneven with the shift in tone, but does entertain throughout.
Afternoon Delight is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2013.