Afternoon Delight is a comical look at some of life’s deepest longings. The film follows Rachel, a thirty-something wife and stay at home mother who, despite her seemingly perfect life, is searching for something more. Determined to spice up her marriage, Rachel visits a strip club where she meets McKenna, a stripper who Rachel becomes determined to save. McKenna moves into Rachel’s home, as the live-in nanny. This uncharacteristically impulsive decision has far reaching effects on Rachel’s life as well as the lives of those around her. In an attempt to find out who she is and what her life is about, Rachel makes decisions that have long lasting implications that she never could have imagined. First time director, Jill Soloway navigates a beautiful balance between hilarious writing and tapping into the deep seeded angst of the human spirit. She finds a place where she can make pointed commentary on the things that people think will bring meaning to their lives, yet does so in the midst of a well-written story that will make you laugh and cry simultaneously. Afternoon Delight does a great job of tapping into the desire to rescue another person but gives space for an analysis of selfishness behind that savior complex.
The fascinating part of this film is how deeply it dives into theological issues, often without even realizing it. Rachel’s desire to “save” McKenna, in an attempt to find meaning and purpose in her own life, holds surprising parallels to so many who go into full time ministry. The heart behind the desire is good, even the desire itself, but somehow, the way it plays out, Rachel’s own family suffers the consequences of her attempt to save. Afternoon Delight has a subtle way of pointing out that despite our best efforts we cannot save people from their own demons. We can love, and we can love well, especially those who are “unloveable” but that’s all we are called to do. It is not our job to fix them. And when the selfish nature of the savior mentality kicks in, it is those closest too us that will have to pay the price.