Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mighty Aphrodite - Movie

'Mighty Aphrodite' is a 1995, award winning Woody Allen film, which won Academy Awards for Best Suporting Actress (Mira Sorvino) and was nominated for Best Screenplay (Woody Allen). Typical of Woody Allen films it has the quirky humour, a light hearted documentary take on the proceedings but still retains a vulnerable, honest and intellectual quality to it through its absurd, completely life-like situations. Apparently inspired by Pygmalion, it has a host of Greek characters helping the narrative along with their commentary, song and dance in the background.

Lenny Weinrib (Woody Allen), a sports writer and his wife Amanda, a career driven artist or curator types, adopt a baby boy because Amanda's busy lifestyle does not allow her the luxury of having her own. The young kid Max grows up showing great intellectual prowess, completely surprising Lenny who sets out to find the biological parents of the kid. He finally tracks his mother down, Linda Ash, prostitute and porn star of wonderful movies such as Snatch Happy, Enchanted Pussy and so on. Lenny pays for her time, but merely talks to her, tells her to change her lifestyle and find an honest job. Linda who has illusions of going on to make it big as an actress, gets angry with him and throws him out thinking he is some kind of a pervert. The scenes between the earnest Linda and the clearly uncomfortable Lenny are hilarious as Linda shares her thoughts and her past such as her moment of inspiration for her chosen career as a porn star, the famous Judy Cum.

Amanda's obsession with a new art gallery she wants to promote gives Lenny enough time with Linda Ash. He slowly manages to get her to talk to him about her family and any intelligent sparks. She confesses that her uncle was bright and if he had not been a serial rapist and gone to jail for life, he would have been known for his intellect. She also tells Lenny about the child she had and gave up for adoption and how she yearns for that child and hopes he is in good care. Lenny is too close to Max to let her know that he has Max, thought he does show her a picture. Influenced by Lenny;s constant talk about making an honest living, Linda tells Lenny that she would like to settle down with a good husband and have children etc. There is a problem though - her pimp who has told her he would cut her face up and also kill Lenny because he has influenced her. Lenny bribes the guy with a couple of tickets to a basketball game. With Amanda getting involved with the chief financier for her project and rethinking about her marriage with Lenny, Linda and Lenny grow closer.

Next he gets Linda to meet an upcoming boxer Kevin, a slightly dim-witted, honest, small town onion farmer who wants to settle down with a good church going girl. Woody gets him to meet Linda who he says is an actress. The two are getting on well when one day Kevin happens to see a porn video of Linda in a friend's house and calls it all off. A distraught Linda goes to win Kevin back, fails, but on the way back meets a helicopter pilot, tells him her story and marries him. In the end it is revealed that Lenny and Linda do once get intimate before all this and Linda has a baby girl from the relationship. When Linda and Lenny meet by accident in a mall they both have each other's babies but do not tell the other.

I love the twists that Woody Allen gives in the end which make it all very very loveable in a tender way. But his humour is something I totally love. Mira Sorvino as Linda Ash alias Judy Cum is unbelievably hilarious and one can never ever imagine a porn star being portrayed so funnily and so vulnerably. She is just so earnest - when he takes her to the horse races she feels so good that she thinks she would like to give Lenny a great time, or buys him a garish tie to show her gratitude because he does not want a b###job. Mira Sorvino, I gathered went to Harvard and did a course in Asian studies, graduated as a manga cum laude, speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and such other stuff. Woody Allen is completely loveable as Lenny Weinrib, sports writer, porn star reformer and doting father of Max. Fantastic stuff - I can watch this movie many times over.

No comments: