|August 30, 2013|
Rated R for strong sometimes graphic sexual content, language and some drug use
Excuse the pun, but Juno Temple is a delight. Unafraid of her sexuality and always adding a deeper level to any of her characters, no matter how shallow, she is so enigmatic that even scenes where she’s in the background, she can be caught stealing it. Innocent and down-to-earth, her characters take on a reality and authenticity that many young actresses fail to grab. In “Afternoon Delight”, she plays a full service sex worker that the leading characters meet at a strip club and although she’s a supporting character, she’s the highlight of the film, which would be a completely different dynamic without her. Alongside her, Kathryn Hahn leads the film as Rachel, a stay-at-home mom who doesn’t quite fit in with the prissy mom’s at school and is feeling the effects of motherhood and the lull in her marriage, with Jeff, the always impressive Josh Radnor, who feels more at home in these independent films than anywhere else.
When McKenna (Juno Temple) ends up on the street, Rachel takes her in, despite her husband, friends, and therapist’s (Jane Lynch) vague warnings. The subject matter of the film is handled significantly and differently, offering subtle changes in the characters as these new living arrangements progress. The characters are open to experiences and never completely shut down anything, with “yes” being the most beneficial responses to any enthralling drama. McKenna has her effect on all the adults of the film, with Temple delivering one of the most well-rounded performances as a stripper I’ve ever experienced.
Of course, the downside to living with a sex worker creeps its way into the film and Rachel discovers that some people just don’t want to be saved, but as with most coming of age stories, she learns something about herself and is able to move forward (without giving anything away). The film’s only downfall are several overly long, drawn out scenes including a strange discussion of abortions which carries on far too long (perhaps that’s the point), allowing these scenes to become stale and repetitive, with no apparent point or significance to the rest of the plot. “Afternoon Delight” is an impressive dramedy, mixed with splendid performances all around and an original story lead by two very strong female leads in Hahn and Temple.