FRESH FROM her remarkable hilarious role in the movie “We’re The Millers” with Jennifer Aniston, Katherine Hahn’s talent shines through in her first starring role in “Afternoon Delight” about a stay at home mom whose sexual awakening came in her 30s when everything looks just perfect.
Hahn plays Rachel, a quick-witted and lovable yet tightly coiled woman living within the affluent Silver Lake neighborhood. At first glance, with their chic modern home, successful husband, adorable child and a hipster wardrobe, you’d think Rachel is living in full bliss until she felt the stabbing reality of emptiness when left alone at home and ponders on her lackluster sex life.
Spicing things up, she decides to visit a strip club and gets a private dance from McKenna (played by Juno Temple) and something cracks open in Rachel. Inspired by the experience, Rachel returns to the club to get to know McKenna, soon after adopts her as a live-in nanny. This bold move unleashes unimagined and colorful waves of change into Rachel’s life, marriage and community.
Director Jill Soloway who came to prominence writing and producing episodes for the hit television series “Six Feet Under” helms “Afternoon Delight” as her directorial debut. Fresh from winning her Dramatic Directing Award in this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Soloway shares that, “Beyond the comedic and cinematic concepts that were on my mind, I made a few feminist choices while writing. Often, when the Madonna/Whore trope turns up in popular entertainment, the bad girl gets thrown under the bus or otherwise metaphorically murdered so that the movie can fulfill a typical Hero’s Journey plot. I am deeply interested in another possibility, a less-told Heroine’s Journey that unravels in the shape of contiguous spirals. These interconnected circles form an emotional roller coaster for the audience as we allow dual protagonists to repeatedly switch places; both women veer through right and wrong multiple times,” shares Soloway.
Soloway was moved by the idea of a female main character who could be an unlikely, complicated and utterly real screw-up of a woman. Having seen the Seth Rogens, the Jack Blacks and Albert Brooks as lovable but nebbish-y wrong-headed male leads, with the women presented as beautiful and perfect and interested in making great choices, Hahn’s role as Rachel in “Afternoon Delight” aims to remind us that women want the same thing from movies that any audience wants from life — emotional honesty, raw comedy and the humanness of true flaws.
Winning the Directing Award at Sundance 2013 was a complete shock and a huge thrill for Soloway, “It is so validating. I’m so excited to share this film as it premieres and travels the world. And as for the future, I can’t wait to do this kind of work again and again.”
“It turns out everyone has lived the story about how easy it is to distract yourself– from yourself– with an idea about helping. It can be easier for people to open up when there’s a transaction– financial or otherwise– at play. But the loudest, clangiest bell has been the notion of how hard it is to keep having great sex in a long-term relationship. The moments of self-recognition in our collaborators and audiences around this truth have been revelatory. Ultimately, if this film were known for one thing, I’d want it to be a loved, hilarious, and relatable exploration of marriage and relationship in our highly connected, disconnected era,” concludes Soloway.
Rated R-16, “Afternoon Delight” will open December 11 in Phils. theaters from Axinite Digicinema, Inc.