Afternoon Delight is a sweet little indie from 2013 that deserves more attention. Written and directed by Jill Soloway (Amazon’s award-winning series Transparent) and starring the always awesome Kathryn Hahn, this is an extremely funny, well observed, sexy comedy that hits all the proper notes of pathos and hilarity. Hahn’s wildly amusing and emotionally volatile rollercoaster of a performance is something that needs to be seen to be believed, as she explodes from one sequence to the next with nervous energy and burning desire to make her life more exciting. Juno Temple goes all out (as usual…she’s a fearless talent) as a young stripper/hooker who becomes friends with Hahn, and the two of them create a unique relationship where they both learn from one another in an effort to better themselves.
Soloway isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with her narrative, and the way she injected just enough smarts into the story kept it from feeling like cheesy sitcom material that goes nowhere after a terrific set-up. Josh Radnor was very effective as the conscience of the piece, playing Hahn’s curious but still uneasy husband who has to navigate his wife’s new-found zest for life with an interesting degree of openness and familial protection. Jane Lynch gets expected laughs as Hahn’s emotionally dry shrink. Shot with a casual sense of style that never interferes with the narrative by cinematographer Jim Frohna, Afternoon Delight is one of those hidden gems that gets lost in the shuffle, and is well-worth seeking out. Soloway won the Best Directing award at Sundance for her efforts.
Review by Nick Clement