Mighty Aphrodite (Woody Allen, 1995)
There are those directors that do nothing for you as a person and there are those who are a big deal for you because you can connect with them at a level that only a few are able to do. Amongst the vast variety of directors and filmmakers out there, Woody Allen could easily be the director that could write and direct my life. Not because I think that my life is like a Woody Allen movie or that I live a life like his, but it would be his touch and his color that I would like to have on my biography. The other possible directors are Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Andrei Tarkovsky, and obviously Stanley Kubrick.
It’s Allen’s manic persona and his writing style that gets me. Even his lesser films have something that represents himself as an auteur and he has his own voice. It is not something that we see that much anymore in modern day cinema. With all that said, let’s get to the film that is Mighty Aphrodite.
Lennie (Woody Allen) and his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) adopted a baby boy and they are subsequently getting apart by time, her job, and Lennie’s obsession to discover the origins of his son. We learn that she is a prostitute, Linda Ash (Mira Sorvino), part time porn star that Lennie meets and is fascinated about. He wants her to stop her debauched life and become what she always wanted to be and start a family. The story is like as if Woody Allen was telling Taxi Driver in his own way. With more jokes and less nihilism in the thoughts of the protagonist. There are great Allenian moments in Mighty Aphrodite, but his meddling with the Michael Rapaport character is useless and despite a solid performance from Sorvino, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting actress, it is an uneven film that would not be amongst Woody’s strongest efforts.
For its comedic elements, it is a nice one with well delivered lines by Allen and Sorvino. Their scenes are the most interesting and the funniest too. The happy-go-lucky Linda couldn’t be more straight to the point and more of a better balance to Allen’s Lennie. As aforementioned, this is one the lesser Allen films and even if it is funny as hell I think that the plot lack in originality. But lesser Allen is always better than lots of commercial duds we saw back in 1995.