Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mighty Aphrodite

Mighty Aphrodite; comedy, USA, 1995; D: Woody Allen, S: Woody Allen, Mira Sorvino, Helena Bonham Carter, F. Murray Abraham, Michael Rapaport, Olympia Dukakis, Peter Weller

Sports reporter Lenny Weinrib and his wife Amanda adopt a son, Max. He grows into a smart little boy so Lenny, after his marriage becomes shaky, decides to seek out Max's biological mother - and finds out she is a prostitute and ex-porn star, Linda Ash! Lenny meets her and they become friends, while he even manages to get her out of the claws of her pimp. He tries to find her a boyfriend, but with no result. Lenny sleeps with her and she becomes pregnant and gets a daughter from him, but conceals it from him and marries a pilot. Lenny returns to Amanda.

The 25th film by Woody Allen, "Mighty Aphrodite" grossed only 6 million $ at the US box office, but has a much bigger appeal than the wider audience thought it has. All emotions have their why and because in the story, and are intriguing, while the warm humor gives it power, stimulates the viewers to think, whereas the screenplay seems like a fruit of a mature and intelligent artist. The direction is low-key and effective at the same time, while some scenes are masterful. Allen crafts the film with such a sure hand and unobtrusive way that it seems like the it is a real event from life. The chore pleasure of "Aphrodite" is the unusual, shrill, untrammelled fun story where the hero Lenny finds out the mother of his adoptive child is Linda - a prostitute! The chemistry between Lenny and Linda, where he has platonic-non-platonic feeling towards her, is irresistibly fascinating, with some outrageous jokes (in one scene, Lenny is shocked when he spots puppets depicting intercourse in Linda's apartment, while she just nonchalantly tells him that she placed it there because "she can laugh at her own expense") while Mira Sorvino played her character wonderfully simple, for which she won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a New York Film Critics Circle Award as best supporting actress. Riding on the wave of inspiration in the middle of the 90s, Allen crafted an excellent film, except maybe that it was a mistake that Lenny never tells Linda about her child. "Breaking" the main story is the 'Greek chorus' (among them F. Murray Abraham) who foreshadows the events in the story, which is sometimes quite amusing, like when the chorus calls Zeus, but only his secretary's voice responds: "Leave your message after the tone..."


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