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Mighty Aphrodite – 1995 Allen
- Mighty Aphrodite is certainly a minor work in Woody Allen’s vast and extraordinary oeuvre
- It opens on a Greek Chorus in costume led by F. Murray Abraham. This section of the film was shot in Sicily and it is set apart from and interwoven with the main narrative shot and set in New York City featuring Lenny (Woody Allen) his wife Amanda (Helena Bonham Carter). Through a bizarre set of circumstances, Lenny will end up seeking out the biological mother of his adopted son. The mother Linda is played Mira Sorvino in an Oscar winning performance for supporting actress.
- Bold for Woody to be doing a plot involving adoption in the mid-1990s after the scandal earlier in the decade.
- sparse, white Windsor Light Condensed font over a black background during the credits, set in New York, jazz music—this is Woody Allen
- Some of the strongest sequences involve Woody riffing on potential baby names for the adopted baby—and making a clever remark about the baby looking like Broderick Crawford.
- The Chorus does make it feel stage bound in a restrictive way—in one scene Lenny is talking to Cassandra as she warns him about erosion on beach property in the Hamptons.
- Woody has always been able to gather talented actors to work with him. Peter Weller is here, a younger Paul Giamatti (in his first archiveable film), Jack Warden as well.
- The camera style is a step removed (and less dedicated) than the style used for the far more impressive Husbands and Wives (1992)—the camera hovers, eavesdrops, and isolates two, three or four characters in the proceeding action among the larger crowd whether it is at a Manhattan party or the boxing ring/gym.
- Mira Sorvino does not show up until 30 minutes into 95-minute movie. She is largely doing Mia Farrow’s voice from Broadway Danny Rose (1984). Much of the humor in the last hour of the film is watching Woody and Sorvino together- in one very funny scene Linda is acting very poorly (the character, not Sorvino herself of course) and the camera cuts to Woody’s puzzled reaction.
- Allen sticks the landing with the ending at FAO Schwarz with the chance meeting between Lenny and Linda years later.
- Recommend but not terribly close to the top 10 of 1995