I recently mentioned Jill Soloway when I was reviewing the brilliant Transparent and after seeing its pilot I looked a bit further into her career. When i discovered that she she won the award for best Director at last years Sundance for Afternoon Delight , I was a little intrigued. Afternoon Delight is about the sexual awakening of a woman in a sexless marriage. 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. Had this been a big budget piece it would have ended up with comedy and high jinks, but as an indie film you get a story that goes from lighthearted to deep and heavy very quickly.
Staring Kathryn Hahn (We’re the Millers and Parks and Recreation), this unusual but well deserved leading role really lets her shine. She plays the modern mother struggling to live up to the ideals of a past generation so well. With Josh Radnor (How I met your mother) as her husband, we are used to seeing him as Ted and as Ted he is lovable and occasionally gets to push his acting but in this film we really see him shine. They both show us the modern pitfalls we can fall into, too much information and connections sometimes leave us unconnected from the ones we really love. Juno Temple really is the star of this, playing the stripper McKenna, you just have so much hope for her and can’t but help sympathize with her, the way she holds herself is so warm and inviting. It’s a great role for an actress we hope to see more of. Kathryn and Juno have great on screen chemistry and their repore is intricate to the flow of this movie, I would say you would be hard pressed to cast anyone else in these roles.
If I am going to mention great acting then I would be letting you all down if I didn’t mention Jane Lynch. We all know her as Sue from Glee, but its in films like this that she really shines, she may only appear at the beginning and end of this picture but she shows a magnificent range in both her appearances and shows us that she is she more than a terrifying cheerleader coach. One minor notes its nice to see Keegan-Michael Key and Michaela Watkins moving out of their comfort zones and doing less lighthearted comedy, they may have minor roles but each add a something special to the drive of the movie and make it more enjoyable to watch
Its beautifully shot in a way that will almost make you feel like you’re standing right there with the cast, personal but not to intrusive. It handles the sex in a tasteful and nearly eloquent way but doesn’t hold the punches. To further this great work is an amazing soundtrack that really emphasizes each scene. This is a great piece of art and I hope Jill can follow it with something just as good if not better.