Afternoon Delight Review
What’s it about? Rachel is a stay-at-home mum who should be enjoying domestic bliss with her young son and loving husband. The problem is that she is deeply unhappy; she hates her mummy group, isn’t having sex with her husband and even struggles to enjoy her therapy sessions.
On a whim she goes to strip club with her husband and friends, and soon finds herself drawn to a young dancer. The pair soon becomes friends and Rachel’s desire to save the young girl soon shakes up her world.
Verdict: Kathryn Hahn does well to play the typical unhappy stay-at-home mum that has been portrayed many times on the big screen and in many TV shows. While it’s clear her unhappiness is through her own inability to make changes, Hahn somehow manages to play the part well enough to make you care about how she’ll manage to move forward. As she moans about her moaning to her unhelpful therapist (Glee’s Jane Lynch), you just want to give her shake and tell her to get on with it but in a loving way.
Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) plays the app-developing husband she wants to reconnect with but just doesn’t know how. He wants sex when they’re going to bed but her therapy sessions reveal she would much prefer a quickie in the mid-afternoon. Instead of talking to her husband about it, she drags him to a strip club to get him in the mood and revive their sex life.
Juno Temple enters the film and brings a much needed breath of life to the story as the hypnotic pixie-like lap dancer that writhes her way onto Rachel’s lap. You understand why Rachel is drawn to this intriguing young woman, who can not only awaken whatever she feels is missing in her life but also finds Rachel’s dreary life impressive.
The plot is pretty simplistic but provides the type of fun scenarios one would expect when a bored housewife decides to hire a stripper to become her live-in nanny.
Naturally, sex is a big focus in the film and we see Rachel struggle to feel completely satisfied when she is intimate with her husband. And it’s no surprise that living vicariously through her new stripper pal doesn’t really do much to help this.
Everything comes to a head in a husband-and-wives night, which shows the inner sadness of both leading ladies. You can’t wonder if either is better than the other.
The plot wraps up a bit too predictably but it’s a great first feature from a talented writer and does a lot to let its leading ladies shine.
Final words: This slow-burning drama about the issues in modern marriage showcases a captivating performance from the talented Kathryn Hahn and proves that Juno Temple really is one of the young British stars to keep your eye on in the coming years.
Afternoon Delight is in UK cinemas from 28 March 2014.