London Film Festival 2013: Afternoon Delight

Directed by Jill Soloway

The annual BFI London Film Festival is one of the world’s biggest film festivals and showcases talent from A-list celebrities and future-stars alike. This year CUB will be covering the festival and reviewing a variety of entries to the festival. For more reviews and opinion from the festival go to: www.cubmagazine.co.uk/category/film.

You probably know Juno Temple by face, if not by name. The young British actress is taking the film world by storm of late and with performances like this it’s not hard to see why. Temple (The Dark Knight Rises, Atonement, St Trinians) steals the show in Afternoon Delight as McKenna, a young stripper who moves in to a suburban family home and changes the mundane, run-of-the-mill lives of one couple forever. Afternoon Delight is described in the BFI’s official festival guide as ‘a grittier, wittier, sexier Bridesmaids’ – I don’t actually remember there being that many graphic sex scenes in Bridesmaids.

Kathryn Hahn (Stepbrothers, Parks and Recreation) and Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) are Rachel and Jeff, a suburban couple with a young son and a drab sex-life. Stuck in a rut and bored of the school-run, Rachel suggests a trip to a strip club to get some passion back in to the marriage. What follows is an obsession with the alluring McKenna, who eventually becomes a houseguest with big consequences for Rachel, Jeff and their friends.

Soloway – who won Best Director at the 2013 Sundance awards – takes a potentially sleazy topic and turns it into a complex portrait of married life and love. Boosted by stand out performances from Temple and Hahn, this is an engaging film that touches on regret, love, lust, shame and betrayal. It starts out as a light comedy but soon progresses into something much darker, as Soloway takes a microscope to suburban marriage. Part of the upcoming generation of female-driven cinema, Afternoon Delight is an original take on the desperate housewife theme and makes for uncomfortable yet compelling viewing.

Image courtesy of 72 productions & rincon entertainment
Image courtesy of 72 productions & rincon entertainment

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