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...
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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. Written by
The Film Arcade
Pessimistic View of the Future of Suburban Californian Women
In reviewing any film, it's important to keep one's feelings towards the plot and characters separate from one's judgment about the piece as a work of art.
This is especially true of Jill Soloway's low-budget film, whose characters are thoroughly despicable. Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) is a bored homemaker frustrated with her marriage to workaholic Jeff (Josh Radnor): unable to find satisfactory help from her therapist (Jane Lynch), Rachel adopts local hooker McKenna (Juno Temple) as her live-in nanny for her son Logan (Sawyer Ever). For the most part McKenna does a competent job, studiously keeping her personal and professional lives separate, while Rachel makes a good stab of not telling her middle-class friends precisely what she has done. Inevitably, however, the situation ends in tears, with Rachel's uncomfortable secret being discovered, and McKenna moving out amid acrimonious circumstances.
The film resembles DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES with added sexual spice, as it focuses on the empty lives of a group of well-to-do homemakers with plenty of money but little to entertain themselves except going to parent-teacher association meetings, or organizing events at their children's high schools. This boredom is what drives Rachel into the futile task of trying to 'rescue' McKenna. The fact that the younger girl might not want rescuing seems not to enter Rachel's head. At the end director Soloway invites us to reflect on who is the most morally culpable: is it Rachel, her husband, or the group of women she associates with?
Filmed on a low budget, but with a good eye for light and shade (much of the action takes place in bright Californian sunshine, an ambiance that seems especially inappropriate for the morally dubious material in the script), AFTERNOON DELIGHT makes a damning criticism of middle-class life, especially that practiced by people with too much money and very little self-awareness.
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