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Strippers, Jewish Guilt, and Loneliness Collide in Jill Soloway’s New Feature Film

The award-winning director talks about why ‘Afternoon Delight’ begins with a lap dance and ends with Shabbat

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Juno Temple as McKenna and Kathryn Hahn as Rachel in Afternoon Delight. (Courtesy of The Film Arcade)
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Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) is a highly educated stay-at-home mom living in an airy modern home in the affluent L.A. neighborhood of Silver Lake. She volunteers for fundraisers at the JCC. She goes to wine-and-chats with the ladies. She works out and sees her therapist regularly. But she’s bored, she can’t get it up for her husband, and she’s starting to freak out. Enter McKenna (Juno Temple), a stripper who gives her a lap dance and whom Rachel then decides to “save,” by inviting her to move into her home.

This is the premise of Jill Soloway’s debut feature film Afternoon Delight, which is partly a comedy but also an affecting look at what happens when lust settles into marriage and parenthood. Soloway is best known as a TV writer and producer for shows like Six Feet Under and United States of Tara. She won the Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for Afternoon Delight, which opens in theaters Aug. 30. On Vox Tablet, she speaks with guest host Rebecca Soffer, a New York-based producer and writer, about what led her to make a movie about a mom and a hooker; how she got such poignant performances from a cast of comedians; and the role Jewish ritual plays in the story and in her own life. [Running time: 23:46.] 

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Strippers, Jewish Guilt, and Loneliness Collide in Jill Soloway’s New Feature Film

The award-winning director talks about why ‘Afternoon Delight’ begins with a lap dance and ends with Shabbat

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