Therapist: “When was the last time you had sex?”
Rachel: “Six months ago, but I guess it is the same for all married couples.”
Therapist: “Not normal couples, no.”
Rachel lives in a beautiful home in the middle-classed neighbourhood of Silver Lake with her gorgeous and successful husband, Jeff, and their adorable little boy. To onlookers, Rachel has it all. However, the opening scene between Rachel and her therapist gives a deeper, yet comical, insight into what is going to be a journey towards re-igniting that sexual spark into a marriage post-childbirth. When Rachel and Jeff meet McKenna during a visit to a strip club, Rachel thinks McKenna holds the key towards their sexual revival, but in fact, she has the power to do an awful lot more.
Thirty-something Rachel, a onetime high-flying career woman, is now a stay at home mum who has forgotten all trace of her pre-baby identity as she is flung into a lifestyle of mother’s groups and school drop-offs. Her non-existent libido, maternal wardrobe and open toilet habits with her husband, drive her to try to rediscover her former sexually driven self. McKenna is everything that Rachel isn’t; she is young, glamorous, sexy, commitment-free and homeless. Whilst Rachel takes McKenna into her home as a live-in nanny, she hides behind this charitable act to mask her desire to be more like McKenna. As Rachel dabbles into McKenna’s life, struggling to marry her pre-motherhood existence to her new life as a parent, she re-discovers her femininity, her sexuality, and the true value of her love for her husband and their family.
I found myself fully immersed into Rachel’s life whilst watching this film; feeling her plight to return to an aspect of her youth, understanding her resistance to conform to the stereotype of women her age, and feeling an element of jealousy for the sexual presence and impact that the younger McKenna has. But the overriding feeling that this film left me with was one of appreciation for the way we grow as human beings from the typically straightforward lives which we lead as a twenty-something, to the more complex, often demanding, but fulfilling lives we have from our thirties.
‘Afternoon Delight’ was screened as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival 2013 at the Phoenix Cinema, London, on Tuesday 12th November 2013.
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